A Key West, Fla., man has come become the latest, though not the first, to extol another wonder of the miracle plant: a car mostly made of hemp that he says can cut the carbon footprint of the planet's estimated 1 billion cars and cover much-needed ground in the fight against climate change.

Pot brownie meet the Cannabis Car.

A Key West, Fla., man has come become the latest, though not the first, to extol another wonder of the miracle plant: a car mostly made of hemp that he says can cut the carbon footprint of the planet's estimated 1 billion cars and cover much-needed ground in the fight against climate change.

"Theoretically, you can smoke anything you want to, but it would not be good idea," said Bruce Dietzen, president of Renew Sports Cars, who says he regularly gets asked if he smokes marijuana.

For the record, he does not. And also for the record, the car is made of hemp, a less potent cousin of marijuana that for thousands of years has been used to make rope and now a fiberglass-like plastic.

Dietzen, a retired Dell computer salesman, completed the car in his garage last year after moving to the island 16 years ago with a mini fleet of sports cars, mostly curvy Italian and British classics from the 50s that served as his models.

Using the chassis of a Mazda, Dietzen built the zippy red Cannabis Car from about 100 pounds of imported Chinese hemp. Woody material from inside the hemp stalk is combined with a resin to form a kind of super-strong plastic that is then molded into a car body.

Dietzen says he will take custom orders for the cars.

"All I want to do is build one car at a time, one day at a time," said Dietzen, who in September drove to Chicago to show off the car at Willie Nelson's 30th annual Farm Aid benefit concert.

Dietzen believes his car may be the only hemp car now in production, though by no means the first.

In 1941, Henry Ford unveiled the Soybean Car. But production was derailed when World War II broke out. Exact ingredients aren't known, though Ford historians believe the car was constructed of hemp, wheat straw and flax held together by a soybean-based resin.

What intrigued Deitzen was the flexibility of using cannabis-based hemp, and its strength. Nearly every piece of his car that could be made of hemp is, including the body, dash and rugs.

Engine parts, the car frame, windshield switches and other mechanical and electrical parts are not. Manufacturing a car from cannabis, and fueling it with biofuels, could have huge carbon rewards, he said.

"You have a car operating in a carbon negative environment," he said.

Over its lifetime, a gas-powered car creates a carbon footprint of about 380 grams of carbon per mile, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists. Hybrid cars are less, but still more than 200 grams. By Deitzen's calculations, a cannabis car, with up to 55 percent of the car plant-based, can cut that footprint by about a quarter.

"So, theoretically, all the one billion cars on the road could be reducing carbon. We're not there yet, but the technology is" advancing, he said.

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