The Rise and Fall of Hemp: A Brief History

Hemp has been cultivated for centuries for its fibers used in the manufacture of ropes and textiles. However, in 1937, the United States passed the Marijuana Tax Act, which made it difficult for farmers to produce hemp. This law marked the beginning of the ban on hemp production across the country. The Marijuana Tax Act was declared unconstitutional in 1969, but was replaced by the Controlled Substances Act the following year.

This legislation classified marijuana, as well as heroin and LSD, among others, as Schedule I drugs. As a result, hemp was lumped in with marijuana and became illegal to cultivate. During World War II, there was an enormous demand for domestic hemp, especially naval rope, when foreign fiber supplies were interrupted. The Federal Narcotics Office (FBN) even encouraged the cultivation of hemp during this time.

However, after the war ended, hemp returned to its banned state. The perceived health benefits of CBD have boosted hemp production in the U. S. and around the world.

Hemp is cultivated for its fibers and health-beneficial compounds called cannabinoids, which are different from those found in marijuana. Even though hemp and marijuana look and smell the same, they have different chemical properties. Hemp contains low levels of THC so people can enjoy the health benefits of cannabis without getting high. In recent years, there has been speculation that hemp was banned because it looks the same as marijuana. However, based on their chemical differences, it's clear that the two are not the same thing.

The rule re-emphasizes an earlier USDA ruling that interstate transportation is legal, even if the shipment travels through a state that does allow the cultivation of hemp. In the 1930s, new industries such as cotton, synthetic plastics, liquor and wood were able to replace hemp. After 1937, hemp could only be cultivated if you were lucky enough to be issued special government tax stamps. In the five thousand-year history of growing hemp on Earth, this half-century ban doesn't seem very long.

Lloyd Pintello
Lloyd Pintello

Incurable pizza nerd. Coffee lover. Wannabe web enthusiast. General music lover. Infuriatingly humble sushi evangelist.