Did you know that the history of hemp dates as far back as 8,000 BC? It is then that archaeologist in Central Asia discovered the first evidence of hemp cord in pottery. In the following years, hemp was used for making rope, paper, pottery, medicine, paints, canvases, building materials, plastics and much more. Various countries around the world benefited from the marvelous crop that was 10x stronger than steel, and per acre, could produce 4x more paper than trees.
Competitors disrupt the rise
A 1938 article in Popular Mechanics estimated that hemp could produce over 25,000 products, and called it a “billion-dollar crop”. It was also around this time that newspaper, lumber, petroleum-based textile, plastics and other companies starting placing pressure on the US government, lobbying against their versatile competitor. In 1937, the US imposed the Marijuana Tax act, placing a tax on all cannabis sales (including hemp), discouraging the growth and sales of hemp.
Government seeks hemp help
It was only a few years later, in 1942, that the USDA introduced a program called Hemp for Victory, which can be credited for the growth of over 150,000 acres of hemp growth. The government realized that it was in great need of hemp products to support the war (WWII), and encouraged farmers in the Southeast and Midwest to aid by growing hemp.
Government changes their minds
In 1970, the US once again reversed its stance on the growth of hemp with the Controlled Substances Act, classifying hemp as a Schedule I drug. Plastics and nylon became the suggested material for many industries, and the hemp industry fell. It wasn’t until many years later, in 2014, that hemp growth was considered federally legal and allowed in research and pilot programs due to the signing of the Farm Bill by President Obama.
Future seems promising for hemp
As of August 2018, 39 US states allow cultivation of hemp for commercial, research, or pilot programs. We will keep you up to date as other states join the hemp revolution, and continue to share the many benefits of hemp as a material.