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Ready to Sell

Hemp products are not easy to market. Most stores do not sell them or the supplies needed to make them. There is a controversy over whether or not hemp is the same as marijuana.Rachel Markowitz, a USF senior majoring in psychology, said this is why she has a hard time selling the hemp jewelry she is passionate about creating.

“I couldn’t find the materials anywhere around here to make the jewelry with, so I looked on the Internet for a place to order them,” Markowitz said.

She said she found a Web site based out of Connecticut, where she said she can order hemp supplies at a good price.

As for the other supplies that go into her jewelry, she is resourceful. She cuts up old necklaces and bracelets and takes out the beads and decorations. She walks along the beach and finds rocks and shells with natural holes for the hemp cord.A friend introduced her to hemp material on her 15th birthday; he made her a hemp belt. When she saw it, she said she immediately loved the way it looked, the way it felt and the way it was made.

“He showed me how he made it, and, from then on, we just started making loads of hemp,” she said.

The problem, Markowitz said, is selling all the things she makes. She has come up with a few ideas, though. On Oct. 3, Judy Guthrie, a Bull Market vendor, started selling some of Markowitz’s jewelry for prices ranging from $5 to $12.

Although no one bought her jewelry on the first day, Guthrie said, “One guy told me to bring a bracelet back next week so he could buy it for his girlfriend.”

Markowitz also had her younger cousin design and create a Web page.

The Web page, linked to the screen name, Monkeybeads@aol.com, tells the story of how Markowitz became a hemp artist.

She said soon the page will have a catalogue so people will be able to order products directly from her.

She has also sold jewelry to local stores in the Tampa area. She recently sold necklaces and bracelets to the G-spot on Fowler Avenue.

She is currently working on a personal order for a friend of a friend-a guitar strap that she is making for $100.

One of the main problems with selling hemp is the controversy it brings because it is made from cannabis, the same plant from which marijuana is produced. It is not, however, the same version of the plant used for the illegal drug.

There are two types of cannabis; both contain the unique class of molecular compounds called canabinoids.

The two most prominent canabinoids in the plants are delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD).

One type of cannabis contains high amounts of the psychoactive chemical THC and low amounts of the anti-psychoactive ingredient CBD. This is the plant used for illegal intoxication.

The other type of plant has extremely low amounts of THC and high amounts of CBD. This type of plant is known as industrial hemp.

Industrial hemp can be used for many things, including paper, textiles, building materials, food, medicine, paint, detergent, varnish, oil, ink and fuel.

“It’s a misunderstood plant,” said Markowitz, “What I do has nothing to do with anything criminal.” This semester Markowitz will be selling her own creations on the Web site.

“I’m also going to start doing personalized jewelry,” she said. “When I see somebody, I know exactly what will look good on them and fit them.”

For now, Markowitz will continue designing her own crafts (she spends about an hour a day working with hemp) and thinking of ways to sell them.

“Even if I never sell any more, I’ll still do it because I love it,” she said. “Anybody who works with hemp develops a hobby.”

  • Contact Mathew Wasserman at oraclefeatures@yahoo.com