Industrial hemp has been grown in the U.S. since the first European settlers arrive in the early 1600’s. Those settlers used hemp for a variety of uses including hemp fiber and hemp paper.
Why Choose Hemp?
Hemp fiber is stronger and softer than cotton, lasts twice as long and will not grow mildew. The Declaration of Independence was drafted on hemp paper! Hemp paper is superior to tree-based because it will last hundreds of years without degrading and can be recycled many more times than tree-based paper. Some of the most famous American politicians grew hemp and advocated for commercial hemp production including George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and John Adams. By the 1800’s hemp was a staple crop of American agriculture and is reflected in town names like “Hempfield” and” Hempstead.
Cannabis Prohibition in 1937
By the 1930’s big pharma had made its push to lump hemp under the umbrella of Marijuana. They succeeded by making hemp illegal under the 1937 Marijuana Tax Act. This made farmers register their hemp crops with the Federal Government and purchase and exorbitantly expensive tax stamp. Shortly thereafter, during WWII, hemp was of such necessity to the war effort that the USDA produced an educational video and literature to encourage farmers to grow hemp for the war effort.
Controlled Substance Act of 1970
In 1970 industrial hemp was again classified as marijuana under the Controlled Substance Act despite decades of government-funded agriculture research that identified industrial hemp varieties as unique in structure and function. Hemp farming, by coincidence, of course, became illegal as the rise of synthetic fabrics skyrocketed.
Growing Hemp in the US
Progress is being made in today’s world. In 2014, Kentucky, Vermont, and Colorado became the first states to grow hemp in decades. Hemp farming is now legal in 32 states. Hemp stands to once again be a vital and viable crop in the United States and around the world.