A Bolton business duo are trying to show the world there is more to the hemp seed than its cannabis roots suggest.
The pair behind The Hemporium are offering to ship a handful of hemp seeds to anyone who wants one – for free.
They are asking those who receive their free handful to scatter the seeds in forests and woodland across Greater Manchester – saying there’s no need for a pot.
The wacky (without the backy) scheme hopes to help hemp start growing wild across the UK.
Claiming that the crop is more than just the centre of a joint, Marc Greaves has launched an online shop selling clothes, food and other products made from alternative products like hemp and bamboo.
“A lot of people tar us with the cannabis brush and we are not doing that – we are promoting the other side of the coin,” said the 34-year-old.
“We are looking at the industrial side of it and raising awareness of the tens and thousands of other uses for the seed.
“The moment you go out there with cannabis, people just turn their backs.”
GOING GREEN: Bolton duo hope to show other side of cannabis plant
To tackle the negative perception of hemp, former film maker Marc – who believes the ‘credit crunch’ and subsequent recession has cost him around £250,000 – is encouraging people to join his Handful of Hemp campaign.
Marc is offering to send a handful of hemp, which can only be cultivated in the UK with a licence, to anyone and encouraging people to spread the seeds with the view to it becoming a wildplant in the UK.
“It’s not an easy thing we are doing and it is quite an uphill battle,” said Marc.
“We’re not trying to encourage breaking the law. We’re just asking people to throw some seeds around.”
Marc insists that spreading the seeds is not against the law – only cultivating the seed into a cannabis plant is likely to attract the interest of authorities.
The Hemporium is a growing business and, in only eight weeks of trading since the e-shop was launched on July 5, orders have been received from as far afield as the US, Canada and the US.
The website has also notched 5,000 hits in its short life-span as Marc admitted ‘it’s gone global’.
Selling a natural lifestyle, by swapping chemicals and plastics for sustainable, bio-degradeable products, Marc and business partner Tom Wainhouse, 23, sell various oils and foods made from hemp seeds as well as clothes from bamboo.
With demand starting to outstrip supply, the pair are seeking £2,000 on Crowdfunder to ensure they can making ends meet while they pursue their real ambition of demonstrating the numerous uses of the hemp seed.
And Marc who insists that hemp can be used to be a handy alternative to plastic and that he has even seen a ‘fully-functioning car’ made from the commodity.
The crop forms the cornerstone of the business, which aims to put the spotlight on how nature often has the answer when innovation is required.
“There are so many answers out there when we just look for them,” said Marc.
“But we take to science labs like ducks to water. We have forgotten our roots in nature.”
The entrepreneur insists that the plant, which contains low levels of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) rendering it ‘harmless’ as a drug, can be the answer to many environmental concerns and could even become a core manufacturing material in its own right.
“It’s taking away an entire industry from us,” he said.
“We want to see a whole new industry made out of hemp.”
The Crowdfunder campaign is available here.
Images courtesy of Magalie Labbe and Marc Fuya, with thanks.