A Brief History of Hemp in the United States

The Puritans brought hemp to New England in 1645 as a source of fiber for spinning and weaving, but it never gained the same importance as flax. It spread to Virginia and, in 1775, to Kentucky, where it was harvested so successfully that a commercial twine industry was established. In 1937, Congress passed the Marijuana Tax Act, which effectively began the era of hemp prohibition. The law's tax and licensing regulations made it difficult for U.

S. farmers to grow hemp. The main proponent of the Tax Act, Harry Anslinger, began promoting legislation against marijuana around the world. The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor interrupted the foreign supply of jute fiber (colloquially known as “Manila hemp”) from the Philippines. The Department of Agriculture began to strongly promote hemp and published several benefits offered by hemp (for example, soon after, Robert McCormick (father of Cyrus McCormick, who invented the first successful mower) patented a hemp fiber processing device. Despite new hemp handling tools that reduced production costs, demand for high-quality domestic hemp fiber declined steadily after World War I.

After the war ended, the government quietly closed all hemp processing plants and the industry disappeared again. Fearing the threat posed by industrial hemp, industry leaders DuPont and Hearst pushed against hemp to protect their business. In addition, individual states continue to pass laws that facilitate the cultivation of hemp and the production and sale of CBD supplements within their borders. Thomas Jefferson said: “In its toughest state, hemp employs more labor than tobacco, but since it is a material for various types of manufacturing, it later becomes the means of livelihood for a number of people, making it preferred in a populated country. Since then, American farmers have grown hemp that was used in many different products, such as paper, lamp fuels, and cords.

Hemp came to colonial America with the Puritans in the form of seeds to plant and as fiber in the lines, sails and caulking of the Mayflower. Many cities (and farmers) in the Midwest ran out of empty or partially built plants, and canceled hemp contracts. When the United States government increased its efforts to fight drugs such as marijuana, hemp was somehow lumped together with its cousin cannabis. The federal government consulted with Matt and embarked on an ambitious project involving the construction of many new hemp processing plants. The peak of hemp promotion came when the United States government released a pro-hemp documentary called Hemp for Victory, which encouraged farmers across the Midwest and Southeast to grow hemp to support the war effort.

If you consider that human agriculture began about 10,000 years ago, you can assume that hemp was one of the first agricultural crops. New hemp products are beginning to be developed as alternatives to concrete, such as CBD products and automotive companies that use hemp fabric for their vehicles.

Kelli Prellwitz
Kelli Prellwitz

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