Team Hemp House launches drive to build first Colorado house made of hemp products

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Hemp advocate Jason Lauve has a new endeavor: Team Hemp House, the goal of which is to build a hemp demonstration house in Colorado.

"The intent is to show that we can use hemp to build the foundation and the walls and the tiles, but also the furnishings in the house, including the food in the fridge," says Lauve, who's helped legalize the crop.

There's a bigger goal, too, he adds: "The Team Hemp House project is the foundation that we need to get the whole industry excited and get it off the ground."

On Monday, Team Hemp House launched an indiegogo crowd-funding campaign to raise $350,000 in sixty days. That money will go toward purchasing the approximately three acres of hemp needed to build the house (ideally, the hemp would be grown in Colorado); processing the hemp into building materials, such as hemp concrete; securing a building site, contractors and architects; and paying staff to oversee the project and make sure the house adheres to building codes.

There are a few hemp houses in the United States, and more in other parts of the world, including England. Lauve says hemp building materials have been shown to be more resistant to fire, mold and even termites than many other types. Furthermore, he says, the materials are known to keep houses warm in the winter and cool in the summer.

But the industry is still in its infancy, especially in Colorado. The Centennial State is, however, on the leading edge of industrial hemp production. Last year's pot-centric Amendment 64 directed the state legislature to "enact legislation governing the cultivation, processing and sale of industrial hemp" by July 1, 2014. Lawmakers beat that deadline in May when they approved a bill that requires the state Department of Agriculture to put in place a process to register hemp farmers by March 1, 2014. Once that happens, farmers will be able to grow vast fields of hemp, a variety of Cannabis sativa that contains little to none of the psychoactive ingredient THC.

Team Hemp House is being sponsored by a handful of local cannabis-related businesses, including the Hemp HoodLab, RiverRock and CannLabs. Lauve is working to attract more sponsors and spread the word throughout the traditional home-building industry. His goal is to start construction on the demonstration house next spring.

As for who will live in it, Lauve says he'd love to, but he doesn't want to claim it as his own. "The end of this project is to have a giant celebration with bands and food -- obviously, hemp food -- and really share that excitement," he says. "I see this house as a place where people continue to come to to see various features, like how a wall was constructed or how we dealt with code issues or how comfortable it feels to be inside the home."

Watch the Team Hemp House indiegogo video below.

More from our Follow That Story archive: "Can hemp escape the role of marijuana's sober stepsister?"

Follow me on Twitter @MelanieAsmar or e-mail me at melanie.asmar@westword.com

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