Check Your History – Who said? “Hemp is of first necessity to the wealth and protection of the country – If people let the Government decide what foods they eat and what medicines they take, their bodies will soon be in as sorry a state as are the souls of those who live under Tyranny”
For nearly 3000 years Hemp has been our planet’s largest agricultural crop and the most important industry producing the fiber, paper, clothing, lighting fuel and medicine used by much of humanity. It is and has always been Earth’s’ most sustainable natural resource. With modern technological advances it is now possible to make over 20,000 types of products from medicine to houses to cellophane, dynamite and most importantly as an eco-friendly alternative to traditional plastics.
1801 “Hemp is of first necessity to the wealth and protection of the country – If people let the Government decide what foods they eat and what medicines they take, their bodies will soon be in as sorry a state as are the souls of those who live under Tyranny” – Thomas Jefferson, 3rd President of USA and Hemp Farmer.
1853 Levi Strauss & Co is founded in USA. The world’s first pair of jeans are made – Not from Hemp, as this is Urban Legend. However, in March, 2019, Levi’s did actually begin allowing manufacture of hemp jeans with its brand.
1897 Rudolph Diesel invents world’s first diesel engine which is designed to run on clean burning vegetable oils including Hemp Oil which does not cause pollution or create carbon buildup inside engines.
1938 Popular Mechanics magazine article titled “New Billion Dollar Crop” announces the arrival of the new Hemp processing technology that was set to make Hemp America’s #1 commodity had it not been prohibited.
Popular Mechanics describes hemp as the new billion dollar crop. The article was actually written in the spring of 1937, before cannabis was criminalized. Also in February 1938, Mechanical Engineering calls hemp the most profitable and desirable crop that can be grown.
1941 Henry Ford finishes making a car built almost entirely from Hemp and which ran on clean burning Hemp fuel. The car being 30% lighter than steel cars therefore required less fuel. Its lightweight bioplastic body panels were many times stronger than steel – could not be dented with a sledge hammer. “Why use up the forests which were centuries in the making and the mines which required ages to lay down if we can get the equivalent of forest and mineral products in the annual growth of the Hemp Fields?” – Henry Ford
1942 US Government cannot take part in World War 2 without Hemp for military clothing and equipment so a campaign is launched to encourage and reward US farmers for growing Hemp with a PR video titled Hemp For Victory.
As a consequence most of the world’s food, fiber, fuel and medicine went from being made organically by farmers to being produced chemically under the control of the Pharmaceutical and Petrochemical industries.
2014 Section 7606 of the 2014 Farm Bill authorized hemp research and pilot programs by state departments of agriculture and institutions of higher education. Some states have licensed farmers to conduct pilot programs and research on hemp.
The 2018 Farm Bill, enacted December 20, 2018, builds upon many of the crucial programs that serve America’s agricultural producers. USDA is implementing this new bill, which includes seeking public input on programs and provisions and designing guidelines. In the meantime, programs authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill are available to serve producers now.
The United States of Hemp Hemp and marijuana are both produced from the cannabis plant, although hemp is derived from a strain that has a much lower quantity of THC, the compound that produces hallucinogenic effects.
It was so important, in fact, that in 1619, Virginia passed a law requiring hemp to be grown on every farm in the colony. At the time, the crop was also considered a proper form of currency in Virginia, as well as Pennsylvania and Maryland.
By the end of the Civil War, the United States’ hemp production had passed its peak, but a different version of the plant was on the rise. Marijuana was becoming an increasingly popular ingredient in medicines and tinctures. The Rise of Reefer Madness The popular image of the 1950s may be all Leave It to Beaver, but underneath the pearls and penny loafers, there was a countercultural movement bubbling to the surface.
The Beat Generation emerged early in the decade, when a group of young people began to unite in their rejection of conventional society in favor of artistic and bohemian ideals. The Beatniks also enjoyed experimenting with drugs, particularly marijuana
. But the Beats weren’t the first group to embrace weed. The drug started gaining traction in the U.S. in the 1910s after Mexican refugees brought marijuana with them as they fled the violence of the Mexican Revolution. In the 1930s, it became popular among the hepsters, the black jazz community made up of “hep cats” like jazz singer Cab Calloway, who had a hit with his song “Reefer Man.”
The Roots of Criminalization The process of criminalizing marijuana had already begun, even before the Beats took up the cannabis cause. The roots of this movement are mired in a racism that still persists in how drug policies are carried out in the U.S. today.
In the 1930s, Prohibition was repealed in the middle of the Great Depression. Straight-laced bureaucrats looking for another target turned their attention to marijuana, which, at the time, was mostly being used in the Mexican and black communities. They painted the drug—and the communities using it—as a threat to the already crippled country and began the process of banning it.
Since then, lawmakers have been doing a do-si-do with the drug. Over the decades, stricter enforcement and the passing of mandatory sentencing laws have traded off with repeals of those laws and efforts at legalization.