Hemp for housing

A South African activist is pushing the idea of hemp-based homes to help solve the country’s housing shortage. Andre du Plessis, an IT specialist based in Cape Town, said he has researched the topic for three years, and that the houses would be built of a form of concrete made by mixing hemp hurds with lime and sand.
“When the mixture dries it is six times stronger in tensile strength than standard concrete, but six times lighter,” said Du Plessis, adding that houses built from the hemp mixture are cheaper and warmer than brick or concrete.

Du Plessis has met with South Africa’s Hemp Research Feasibility Project, but was disappointed. “They have been at it for three years, but they can’t even give me two kilos of hurd,” he complains. He’s also been in negotiation with the Agricultural Research Council, unsuccessfully trying to secure a small hemp crop to build one “proof of concept” house.

“In my sheer frustration I have sowed two kilos of hempseed on either side of the South African Parliament’s fence,” Du Plessis told Cannabis Culture, “so no matter which side of the fence they sit, they will have to deal with the issue of cannabis, or at the very least me.”

As part of his campaign, Du Plessis recently hand-delivered his home-made “Cannabis Cans” to every desk in the national Parliament. The cans had “a funky logo and tidbits of info on the inside, with relevant internet addresses.”