Hemp is as American as the Constitution of the United States. The hemp farming of the 1700s established it as a staple crop where American Presidents and plantation owners like George Washington and Thomas Jefferson actively promoted it and colonists were required to grow it. Its uses across multiple products such as paper, lamp fuels and ropes. Not only did this crop stimulate the American agricultural positioning globally, hemp paper was used to draft the Declaration of Independence. The hemp cultivation of today has an even greater potential to impact the planet through regenerative organic agriculture methods that will protect the soil for generations to come.
This resilient crop has thrived on every continent in the world and has had a long history that begins as early as 8000 BCE at the very beginnings of human agriculture. Hemp has been a treasured crop globally for centuries starting in Asian regions of modern day China and Taiwan. When one considers that human agriculture started 10,000 ago, it is easy to assume that hemp was one of the first agricultural crops with the range and diversity of its uses. Commonly referred to as “Sacred Grass” or “King of Seeds” throughout its generations of travel from Asia, Europe, Africa and later South America, hemp was a key in everyday life with uses that spanned from clothes to ropes and paper. For all of the benefits that hemp provided in American life, its journey through stigmatization begins with The Marijuana Tax Act of 1937 which placed a tax on cannabis sales (including hemp), which heavily discouraged the production of hemp.
This negative press laid the groundwork for the contradictions about hemp where the benefits are apparent in the 1938 Popular Mechanics writes an article about how hemp could be used in 25,000 products, there’s support from the USDA and Henry Ford tests the strength of hemp in his model T’s to hemp being stigmatized in the 1970 Controlled Substances Act drug along with Schedule I drugs like heroin and cocaine. The costs to regulated and import hemp outweighed the benefits to American families and the economy. Now, Hemp has made its comeback for merchants, farmers, legislators and advocates. The future of hemp has the potential to transform our economic, environmental and agricultural lives and establish the U.S. as a global leader in a crop whose influence and capital has stood the test of centuries, hemp.