Hemp is a very versatile plant. It can be used to make paper, clothing and organic medicine
(CBD extracts). Recently, a breakthrough in cannabis technology has ushered in a new hemp
creation: a fully functional car. Bruce Michael Dietzen, a Florida native, was responsible for the
production of the vehicle.
“This green machine is made from three plies of woven hemp, making it lighter than cars made
from fiberglass,” said Dietzen. “The body of the car uses about 100 pounds of woven hemp.”
Inspired by Henry Ford
The former Dell executive confirmed that his green sports car was inspired by Henry Ford’s
contributions to the hemp industry. In 1941, Ford used the plant to build the world’s first
soybean hemp car. Dietzen’s version is more robust, both aesthetically and under the hood. It
supports a body that is up to 10 times more resistant to dent, compared to steel. The car was
made using the chassis of a Mazda as a foundation. When it comes to weight, the vessel is
lighter than most vehicles currently available in the market today. This equates to less fuel
consumption, and more room for add-ons and customizations.
From a distance, the vehicle does not look like it was made using organic material. The plant
was processed to resemble metal sheets in order to hide the loose strands commonly
associated with hemp. From a cost perspective, the car is not a cheap investment. It cost
$200,000 to build the vessel, and the only way to drive the price down would be through large-
scale manufacturing. It also didn’t help that Dietzen had to import hemp from China.
“I live in Florida, hemp is still illegal to grow so I had to import the woven material all the way
from China because we still don’t have the facilities that can make hemp fabrics,” explained the
car enthusiast. Interestingly, Dietzen’s creation runs on bio fuel derived from natural waste that
is designed to emit a lower carbon footprint than an electric vehicle.
Florida’s Hemp Laws
Growing hemp is illegal in the state of Florida, but local officials are slowly opening up to the
possibility of allowing groups to work with the plant on an agricultural and research level. Last
year, the state Senate committee approved Senate Bill 902, which failed to come to fruition in
the hands of the Senate Criminal Justice Committee. For now, the 2014 Farm Bill serves as an
entry point for individuals who want to work with the plant. Section 7606 of the bill limits the
cultivation of industrial hemp for universities and state departments of agriculture.
Florida is set to vote on a pivotal medical marijuana measure in November on the 2016 ballot. If
approved (60 percent is the state’s standard), Florida would be the first state in the
southeastern region to actively participate in a legal medical cannabis program.
This post was originally published on June 8, 2016, it was updated on March 15, 2017.