Pubdate: Mon, 03 Oct 2005
Source: London Free Press (CN ON)
Copyright: 2005 The London Free Press a division of Sun Media Corporation.
Author: Hank Daniszewski


A new hemp-processing plant in Manitoba should be a boost to the
fledgling industry, says the head of a hemp business near Delaware.

"Demand is outstripping supply, so having additional capacity is
positive for the whole industry," said Geoff Kime, president of
Hempline Inc.

Kime said the spiralling cost of crude oil could give the Canadian
hemp processing industry a long-awaited breakthrough. He said natural
fibres like hemp are now competitive with petroleum-based fibre products.

"The rising price of oil has opened up the demand for hemp and flax
substantially," he said.

A co-op of about 50 hemp growers is planning to construct a
$14-million plant near Dauphin, Man., with the help of $6 million in
federal and provincial funding. The group is still seeking $3.5
million in private investment.

Hemp fibres have a variety of uses, including rope, clothing, and
insulation while the seeds can be turned into oil, food products and
cosmetics. Hemp is genetically related to marijuana but cannot be used
as a drug because it has almost no THC, the active ingredient.

Hempline, founded in 1994, processes fibres used in composite
materials used for construction, insulation and auto parts. The
company also produces hemp chips used for animal bedding.

Kime said Hempline did not contract any hemp from local farms last
year, relying on existing supplies while concentrating on developing

Kime said he is confident the economic conditions and rising oil
prices will boost the hemp market in the coming year. He said large
chemical companies have shown an interest in using hemp to create
composite products. 
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