If North Carolina-based Hemp Technologies has its way, California could have its very first hemp house under construction — a 500-square-foot structure in Santa Barbara built with materials derived from the Cannabis sativa plant.
The main component under review by county officials is Hempcrete, a material made from the woody internal stem of the cannabis plant. Hempcrete can be sprayed on, poured into slabs, or formed into concrete-like blocks to form the shell of a building.
Hemp Technologies and other hemp advocates cite the material's eco-friendly properties, including its resistance to termites, mold and dry rot; its ability to keep structures warm in winter and cool in summer; and the sustainability of the plant itself, which requires little water and few pesticides to grow. And don't think that your neighbors will party hardy if your house burns down — Hempcrete is reportedly fireproof.
Hemp Technologies hopes to build the state's first hemp house at the ruins of Knapp's Castle. The castle was destroyed by wildfire in 1940 and all that remain onsite are sandstone blocks outlining the former estate.
The project is currently in the permit process. If it's approved, Californians could be seeing more hemp homes on the horizon.
Read More: House of hemp? Pushing cannabis as a construction material at Los Angeles Times
(Images: Los Angeles Times)