This 12-time NBA star makes plant-based auto parts and predicts ‘all plastics will be made from cannabis’ – Stellantis (NYSE:STLA), One World Products (OTC:OWPC)
“I envision a future where the Fords, GMs, Stellantis of the world take plastics out of their automobiles and infuse them with industrial hemp to replace those plastics, reducing their carbon footprint,” says NBA star Isiah Thomas , cannabis entrepreneur and CEO of products of a world OWPCthe largest black licensed and controlled hemp and cannabis producer in Colombia.
While that might sound innovative, even in 2022 hemp cars were actually a reality some 80 years before. In 1941, Henry Ford presented a prototype car with a body made primarily from plant-derived materials like soybeans, wheat, hemp, and flax. To go even further, Ford asked Rudolf Diesel, inventor of the diesel engine, to develop a special and unique propulsion system for this car: the vehicle would also run on vegetable oil and hemp.
These days, Thomas’ company is also working on hemp auto parts. According to a recent agreement with Stellantide STLAThe world’s sixth-largest automaker, owner of Chrysler, Citroen, Dodge, Fiat, Jeep, Peugeot and other portfolio brands, One World Products will develop and supply hemp-based bioplastic components for car interiors and exteriors.
Hemp glasses by Hemp, COURTESY
According to a recent reporthemp is not only a greener option than traditional plastics, which would help limit the automotive industry’s massive impact on CO2 emissionsbut it is also stronger than steel and lighter than fiberglass. Additionally, many hemp plastics are completely biodegradablemaking their production close to carbon neutral.
While the hemp materials space isn’t quite crowded yet, a few other companies have also recognized its potential. In Argentina, a brand called Hemp makes the most beautiful hemp glasses you’ve ever seen. Similarly, Nebraska’s Hemp3D, which also makes eyewear, recently launched a hemp chess set. And the American company Santa Cruz Shredder also uses hemp plastics to make cannabis accessories.
In 2019, CEO of CBD Elixinol Global, Paul Benhaim, spear the Hemp Plastic Company, with the intention of using waste from the former’s CBD production to make hemp-based bioplastics. The Hemp Foundation does something similar. Meanwhile, Sana Packaging uses hemp and reclaimed plastics to make sustainable packaging for cannabis businesses.
Examples like these abound, and one thing is clear: the planet needs sustainable plastics, and these early entrants stand to benefit from this trend.
The Afro-Colombian Connection and Isiah’s Hemp Cars
“Think of us as the supplier of hemp and cannabis raw materials to the industry. We grow and we cultivate in Colombia because of the equatorial advantages it gives us, we work with indigenous farmers and we work with the soil and the sun. Not only in the CBD space but also in the hemp space,” Thomas explained in an exclusive interview at an event in Miami.
“We work closely with the automotive industry to reduce their carbon footprint by replacing some of their plastics with hemp, we also work in construction. As far as plastic is concerned, everything will be made of hemp and we want to be the biggest supplier of it. Not only can you use hemp to build the car, but also for fuel, food, and plastics.
In May, One World Products and AMUNAFRO, the National Association of Mayors of Municipalities with Afro-Colombian populations, announced that they had reached an agreement Partnership control over one million acres in Colombia to focus on industrial hemp production. One World will produce hemp and hemp derivatives in association with local farmers to supply the automotive industry, among others, with plastic substitutes.
Thomas delved into issues such as the need for a global productive transition to sustainable agriculture and manufacturing and reducing the carbon footprint. Additionally, the CEO noted Colombia’s comparative advantages for growing hemp, including its people, soil, and equatorial lighting.
“This factory is also a one-stop-shop for the world. You have to have the supply to meet the demand (…) [and] we are looking to supply industries looking to make ‘the big change’,” he added.
Austin Bryant, chief executive of BastCore Inc., an 8-year-old company that converts hemp stalks into industrial materials like textiles, building materials, composites, oilfield chemicals and more, appears to share the vision. of Thomas. When asked about the issue, the hemp expert – who is in no way affiliated with One World Products, said he and his team are “big believers in the important and worthwhile work of Isiah “.
“Industrial hemp is a carbon sequestration juggernaut,” he explained. “For every acre of hemp grown, 9 tons of CO2 are captured. If we could get 1 million acres of hemp in our soil and harvest three times a year (hemp has a 90 day growth cycle), you’re capturing a fair amount of carbon. Replacing synthetic fibers made from fossil fuels with plant-based fibers will allow brands to reach their climate goals faster. The big picture is to reduce the emission rate of the United States, which is certainly worth investing in. »
Local farmers: a vital asset for the cannabis industry
For Thomas, human resources are vital for the production of high quality goods, including hemp. Fortunately, he was able to build on his experience in champagne, an industry where he has already found success with his brand Cheurlin Champagne.
Local know-how can help anticipate bottlenecks in the cannabis business supply chain, innovate and differentiate products, improve resource use and research, and preserve local culture and the environment.
“I hadn’t realized I was entering agricultural space when I entered champagne. I learned that the soil, the sun and the farmers make the best grapes. When I wanted to move in the field of cannabis, to understand the business you know… the endocannabinoid system, THC, etc, it became [a question of] “Where is the best place where we can get the best of the best at the lowest price?” And Colombia hit all the targets,” Thomas said.
The former NBA player also noted that the company anticipates a global political trend in the design of goods and consumer habits, that of sustainable materials with a negative carbon footprint.
“About the uses of hemp, we talk about its thousands of applications. This is a great opportunity for us and for the world. We believe that as the world continues to seek to reduce the carbon footprint, the world will go back to a natural place, the uses of hemp and what it can do on all levels,” Thomas explained.
The “THC side”
As a former athlete, Thomas is excited about cannabinoids and what they can do to help with pain, sleep, and inflammation. He believes cannabinoids have been rendered invisible by negative propaganda, despite people having been using them for millennia.
“I think people have always known instinctively how effective this plant is. I thank those present at the conference for their diligence, perseverance, and efforts to educate people about the benefits [of cannabis] because it works naturally with your body,” added the CEO. “When I look at it from an educational point of view, the fascinating thing that I discovered, when you look at Colombia, you have the Caribbean, you have the Atlantic and you have the Pacific. The cultural differences come together to learning how to use the earth for medicinal purposes, for food purposes, it’s really unique, one plant does everything.
– Cannabis is particularly stigmatized in the world of sport, how to overcome this?
We have to understand that the factory has been put to sleep here in the industry so that other synthetic and drug industries can develop. And understand how the United States operates from a business perspective. And give credit to these companies for the propaganda they used against the factory and misinformation. Commercially, they have done their job. But that’s the beauty of the plant. Factory says your time is up.
Encuentra nuestro contenido en español en El Planteo: Isiah Thomas Elogia a Ginóbili: ‘Verdaderamente Amo a Manu’
This article was originally published on Forbes and appears here with permission.