An Ancient Plant Finding A New Place In History
HISTORY OF HEMP
Carbon tests have suggested that the use of wild hemp dates as far back as 8000 B.C.
In Great Britain, hemp cultivation dates to 800AD.
In the 16th Century, Henry VIII encouraged farmers to plant the crop extensively to provide materials for the British Naval fleet.
17th Century America farmers in Virginia, Massachusetts and Connecticut were ordered by law to grow Indian hemp. Hemp was legal tender.
Thomas Jefferson wrote the draft of the Declaration of Independence on hemp paper.
In early 1900 a machine was finally invented which could harvest 1,000 pounds of hemp fiber per hour. By 1920 the hemp crop was entirely handled by machinery.
The 1914 $10 bill was printed on hemp and the picture on the back depicts farmers plowing hemp. This is the inspiration for the Charleston Hemp Company’s original logo.
The 1914 $10 bill bears the signature of Andrew Mellon, the Secretary of the Treasury and the head of several oil companies and banks. Mellon was the uncle of Harry Anslinger, the first leader of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics, 1931-1961. Anslinger is believed to have spearheaded the prohibition of cannabis.
The Marijuana Tax Act of 1937 triggered the decline of the hemp industry. Some speculate the policy was enacted in favor of emerging industries gaining market share over hemp.
The United States reversed its stance in 1942 when they realized they needed hemp for the war effort. The Department of Agriculture started to heavily promote hemp and the US government released a pro-hemp documentary called “Hemp for Victory” which encouraged farmers throughout the Midwest and Southeast to grow hemp to support the war. This led to more than 400,000 acres of hemp being planted during 1942-1945
Shortly after this program, the US government went back to its earlier position on hemp and the industry further declined.
The Controlled Substances Act of 1970 named hemp as a Schedule 1 drug, grouping this crop with drugs like heroin and LSD.
In 2004 the US government allowed the import of dietary hemp products.
For the first time in more than 50 years, two North Dakota farmers were granted hemp licenses in 2007.
The Federal Farm Bill of 2014 was signed into law, allowing hemp cultivation in states that permitted hemp farming. To date, more than 33 states have introduced a hemp bill and 21 states have approved one.
In 2015, the Industrial Hemp Farming Act was introduced at the federal level. If approved, this act will remove all restrictions and regulations on growing hemp.
President Trump signed the 2018 Federal Farm Bill on December 20th further legalizing Industrial Hemp.