By Steven Hoffman
What do you get when you combine a Spanish company with nearly 300 years in the business of making specialty paper products with a Canadian husband and wife team who in the 1990s were among the first “hempreneurs” dedicated to bringing hemp products to North America?
What you get is Pure Hemp, ultrathin 100% hemp rolling papers made of the highest quality for the discerning smoker, said Roland (Rolly) Pharand, Managing Director of Natural Emphasis Ltd. Based in Ontario, Canada, Natural Emphasis was founded in 1995 by husband and wife entrepreneurs Dave Marcus and Radha Chaddah, and is the exclusive North American importer of Pure Hemp rolling papers and related products.
More than that, when Dave and Radha were first building their hemp-centric import business in Canada, they approached their future Spanish partner, Miquel y Costas – a legendary paper manufacturer originally founded in 1725 in Barcelona as a family business whose “Smoking” brand of papers are sold worldwide – to import the company’s eco-friendly “Smoking Green” 100% pure hemp, premium quality rolling paper, which prompted the birth of the Pure Hemp brand.
Prior to then, the paper makers at Miquel y Costas had seen the value of hemp fiber in manufacturing rolling papers, but like others at the time, they primarily blended the hemp with paper pulp made from other textile crops, such as flax. When raw materials were in short supply during the Great Depression in the 1930s, Miquel y Costas began working directly with hemp and other textile farmers to ensure the company’s own supply of raw materials, selecting hemp varietals over time that produce the best fiber needed for its rolling papers.
Based on the growth of the Pure Hemp brand in the North American market, Miquel y Costas expanded the sales of Pure Hemp products first in South America, including Brazil, where Pure Hemp papers are popular. The company also recently introduced Pure Hemp papers to the European market, Pharand noted.
Burn Paper, Not the Planet
“Pure Hemp is a 100% eco-friendly tree-free rolling paper, produced using only the finest hemp pulp and is complimented with an all-natural gum line sustainably harvested from the African Acacia tree – all while maintaining the highest quality product with a slow burn and very little ash,” boasted Pharand of his product. “Once catering only to a niche market, today Pure Hemp rolling papers are an internationally recognized mass market leader for eco-alternatives to other traditional wood pulp-based rolling papers on the market.”
Pure Hemp offers products to consumers and wholesale accounts online and in retail stores throughout the U.S. and Canada. Products include Pure Hemp Classic and Unbleached rolling papers in various sizes. The company also recently launched 100% hemp Unbleached Cones in 1,000 cones per box count in 83 mm and 110 mm sizes. Pure Hemp also sells trays, tins and other gear in its distinctive vintage design.
“Nothing is more honorable than seeing the farmers putting the cannabis they’ve grown themselves into our hemp paper,” said Pharand, who has helped lead Natural Emphasis for more than 20 years.
Staying True to Its Roots
As it is still a very hemp-centric company, Natural Emphasis has continued an ongoing hemp breeding project under its “Natural Hemphasis” R&D arm. Begun in the late 1990s with Dr. Ernest Small of Canada’s Eastern Cereal and Oilseed Research Centre, the research has focused on developing varieties for hempseed oil.
“We started in 1998 by bringing in 100 varieties of hemp from around the world,” said Pharand. “We’re still running our research plots and have developed three varieties for hempseed oil. We’re also looking at other higher resinous cannabis varieties to select for the best performing breeds,” he said.
“In particular, we are developing varietals that can grow successfully in the outdoors. If we want to create a positive environmental impact, we’ve got to develop varieties that will grow outside in the Canadian climate. We can’t have cannabis growing in indoor environments that consume a lot of energy,” Pharand added. “Maybe greenhouses will be needed for supplemental production, but growing under lights seems ridiculous when we have natural light and can have less of an impact around the globe,” he said.
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Steven Hoffman is Managing Director of Compass Natural, providing brand marketing, PR, social media, and strategic business development services to natural, organic, sustainable and hemp/CBD products businesses. Compass Natural serves in PR and programming for NoCo Hemp Expo and Southern Hemp Expo, and Hoffman serves as Editor of the weekly Let’s Talk Hemp Newsletter, published by We are for Better Alternatives. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org.