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Recap: Portland NORML Membership Meeting August 22, 2015

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If you didn’t make it out to our last membership meeting this past Saturday, you missed an awesome presentation by Joy Beckerman Maher on hempcrete.  We learned a lot about this incredible building material and watched her demonstrate the process of building with hempcrete! (Editor’s note – listen to the meeting, minus Joy’s copyrighted presentation, below:)

But first, we started off the meeting announcing upcoming events, including the Oregon Medical Marijuana Business Conference on September 12 – 13 and the High Times Cannabis Cup, which is currently seeking approval from the City of Milwaukie to take place September 19 – 20.

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After that, our Executive Director, Russ Belville, talked a little bit about the Oregon Court of Appeals ruling where the smell of marijuana was deemed to not be a “physically offensive smell”, although the Appeals Court did concede that the smell of marijuana could become “physically offensive” if it took place long enough, often enough or in sufficient quantities.  He also summed up the case for marijuanapolitics.com, if you missed the meeting and want to learn more.

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Then we had guest Sarah Jane talking about her growers classes currently being offered to help adults get their now-legal four plant gardens started.  While the class regularly costs $300 and takes place over four consecutive Sunday sessions, she is offering a $50 discount to Portland NORML members which can be redeemed by using the special link she provided to us at medicinaljane.com/enroll/norml.

Her website says that attendees will “Learn from some of the industry’s finest growers and professionals while networking with the future of Oregon’s Budding Cannabis Industry. You take home your four plants after the first class and get started right away!

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Throughout the meeting, we had multiple raffle give-aways with our wonderful “Wheel of Swag”.  Raffle winners gave the wheel a spin to find out what they won.  Prizes included Portland NORML T-Shirts, stickers, a free Portland NORML Membership, a mug that doubled as a pipe, a Seattle Hempfest “Protestival” book, as well as Dr. David Bearman MD’s two-book set, “Drugs Are NOT the Devil’s Tools” that Russ described as the equivalent of “The Emperor Wears No Clothes” for all drugs.

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We concluded with our special guest, Joy Beckerman Maher, who gave a terrific presentation on all the many advantages of hempcrete as a building material.  She explained to us the process of making hempcrete and the importance of acquiring the correct materials, including two variations of lime that can be difficult to purchase and the proper grade of hemp shiv that is uniform in size.  She elaborated on a variety of projects that have been completed using hempcrete and shared that the hemp home in Asheville, NC is actually an airbnb home, so you can rent it if desired!  She also compared traditional building materials with hempcrete so we could have a better understanding of how significant use of this building material could be for our environment.

Finally, as the meeting wrapped up, we were able to see the process of making hempcrete up close.  It looked like a lot of fun, although the dust could be a little messy so Joy wore a dust mask to prevent breathing in the dust as she mixed it with water.  Once it was wet, however, the dust mask came off and the fun began!  We are very grateful for this wonderful presentation and terrific information from Joy!

Scroll through the captioned images below to see the whole process – start to finish!

First, Joy adds the hemp shiv into the bucket and adds water. She said it was important to wet the hemp shiv first because otherwise the lime will suck it all up.

First, Joy adds the hemp shiv into the bucket and adds water. She said it was important to wet the hemp shiv first because otherwise the lime will suck it all up.

Joy mixes the hemp shiv, lime and water together until it is all moist.

Joy mixes the hemp shiv and water together until it is all moist.

Next, Joy adds the lime. As you can see it is rather dusty, so the dust mask is important for this part!

Next, Joy adds the lime. As you can see it is rather dusty, so the dust mask is important for this part!

Once the mixture is wet and a similar consistency to oatmeal, the dust mask can come off.

Once the mixture is wet and a similar consistency to oatmeal, the dust mask can come off.

When the mixture is the desired consistency, it will stick together and hold much like a snowball.

When the mixture is the desired consistency, it will stick together and form much like a snowball.

Then you can begin putting the hemp mixture into the form and tamping it down. Joy explained it was important to only tamp the edges to ensure that the walls maintained their breathability and also to ensure that you didn't use too much material.

Then you can begin putting the hemp mixture into the form and tamping it down. Joy explained it was important to only tamp the edges to ensure that the walls maintained their breathability and also to ensure that you didn’t use too much material.

When she was finished tamping it down, you can see that the center is a bit more elevated than the edges - this is desirable and is the proper tamping technique.

When she was finished tamping it down, you can see that the center is a bit more elevated than the edges – this is desirable and is the proper tamping technique.

Close-up of the final tamped hempcrete.

Close-up of the final tamped hempcrete.

Various hempcrete products on display, including the burned hempcrete brick used to test the fire-proof qualities of hempcrete by Oregon Hemp Works.

Various hemp and hempcrete products on display, including the burned hempcrete brick used to test the fire-proof qualities by Oregon Hemp Works.

 

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