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Hemp can be grown in nearly any climate and produces nutrient rich seeds that can be utilized as a food source for humans and animals as well as a wide array of other applications.
The outer fibers of the hemp stalk are called bast fibers and have been used by humans for thousands of years to create paper textiles, rope and in more recent years to design plastics.
The infamous leaf of the Cannabis Sativa family is most closely associated with Marijuana, a cousin of hemp whose defining characteristic are it's psychoactive properties or THC. Hemp, however, contains a minimal amount of THC, and could never be used to get you high.
The flower of the hemp plant creates two important products. The seeds, which we mentioned above are highly nutritious, while the cannabidiol oil found in the flowers is being utilized as medicine for with anti-inflammatory properties.
In November 1937, following a media frenzy demonizing marijuana, congress enacted the Marihuana Tax Act. The campaign was cooked up by Henry J. Anslinger, first commissioner of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics, and spread around the country by newspaper magnate, William Randolph Hurst.
Popularized by the film “Reefer Madness,” this anti-cannabis campaign effectively brainwashedthe American public and demonized a plant that had been used for centuries by civilizations all around the world.
The “Tax Act” effectively made cannabis illegal to grow, purchase and consume.
8,000+ BCE - Use of hemp cord in pottery identified at ancient village site dating back over 10,000 years, located in the area of modern day Taiwan. Finding hemp use and cultivation in this date range puts it as one of the first and oldest known human agriculture crops.
2,737 BCE - First recorded use of cannabis as medicine by Emperor Shen Neng of China.
100 A.D. - Hemp rope first used in England.
570 - The French queen Arnegunde is buried with hemp cloth.
1619 - The Virginia Assembly passed legislation requiring every farmer to grow hemp. Hemp was allowed to be exchanged as legal tender in Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Maryland.
1850s - Kentucky produce 40,000 of the 71,500 tons of hemp fiber grown in America
1937 - Hemp production made Illegal by Marihuana Tax Act.
Ironically just 4 months later, Popular Mechanics published an article in their February 1938 issue declaring Hemp to be “the next Billion dollar crop.”
The article praised Hemp, “From the farmer’s point of view hemp is an easy crop to grow...(and)can be grown in any state in the union. It has a short growing season, so that it can be planted after other crops are in. The long roots penetrate and break the soil to leave it in perfect condition for the next year’s crop.”
Over the past 80 years only one exception to The Tax Act was made. In 1942, when the Philippines fell to the Japanese, and the U.S. Navy lost control of their hemp fields, the U.S. military sent out a call to farmers around the country to grow hemp. "Hemp for Victory," a film produced by the United States Department of Agriculture, (featured to the left) highlights how essential hemp was to the war effort.
From 1942 to 1945 farmers grew 400,000 acres of Hemp that was transformed into ropes, uniforms, parachutes and much more!
Today, the Federal government continues to keep hemp cultivation illegal. In fact, even though hemp has no psychoactive properties, it has been labeled a schedule 1 narcotic along with its cousin Marijuana.
In spite of this Hemp advocates around the nation have built a strong import business that has an annual revenue of over $680 million dollars. Each year hemp seeds, oils, textiles, paper and industrial products are shipped in from Canada, Europe, Australia and Asia.
As you will discover in the following pages the cultivation of hemp will have a tremendous impact on the future of our nation. By as early as 2020 Hemp could become the billion dollar crop Popular Mechanics predicted it would become in 1938 creating an economic and environmental victory for generations to come.
From the outset hemp was a critical part of our nation’s growth and vitality. In 1619 the Virginia Assembly passed legislation requiring every farmer to grow hemp. In 1937 the farmers right to grow this vital crop was pulled from under his feet.
In 2005, a group of Senators set out to set correct this act of aggression against our freedom when they introduced the Industrial Hemp Farming Act(IHFA( to the Senate and House in order to distinguish Hemp from Marijuana and free farmers around the country to begin hemp cultivation.
The last bill was reintroduced in 2015 with 69 co-sponsors. 218 co-sponsors are needed to pass the house and reach the senate. Even though states around the country are lifting the ban on farming industrial hemp, a federal restriction means that interstate hemp commerce is illegal.
This restriction severely limits the growth of the Hemp Industry. With so many potential benefits to both our economy and environment it’s time for Americans to join together and call on our Federal government to lift the ban on farming hemp.
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To support the growth and development of all aspects of the industrial hemp industry.