Still controversial today, the turbulent history of hemp is a story not many know. The plant was discovered in 8000 BCE in Asian regions that are presently known as China and Taiwan. Hemp is currently used to create over 25,000 products, so we can assume that this was a very valuable crop for ancient civilizations.
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An Ancient Staple
This crop was essential to daily life, with its capabilities to create threads for clothing, ropes, shoes, and paper. Fast forward and Hemp was first introduced to North America in 1606. In the 1700s, American farmers were able to grow this plant as a staple crop. Documents today note that the United State’s founding fathers even grew hemp and used it on their estates! That sure isn't something we'd see today.
Foreign Affairs Influence Hemp’s Legality over the Years
History has had a turbulent relationship with hemp, potentially resulting inenvironmental issues we are facing today. The pro-hemp attitude began to shift approaching the 1900s. The Marijuana Tax Act of 1937 sparked a significant decline in the hemp industry, leaving the hemp plant to be lumped with its problematic cousin (marijuana). This historic moment gave way for other industries like plastic and nylon to dominate the consumer goods industry. Although controversial, this could be just one reason that snowballed into the plastic pollution crisis we are experiencing today. Ironically, in 1942 the USA reversed their stance on industrial hemp when they realized they needed it for the war. The government even released a documentary “Hemp for Victory”, sparking 400,000 acres of hemp to be planted in 1942-1945. Shortly after this, the government came back to its original stance: anti-hemp, and buried this film. It’s been a long time coming for the hemp industry, and these reversals have created a lot of confusion throughout the states. The last commercial hemp farm was in Wisconsin (1957). Hemp production was banned altogether in 1970 with the Controlled Substances Act, making it a Schedule 1 drug.
Hemp Makes a Victory
After a long time of suppression, the United States finally allows the import of dietary hemp products in 2004. The next big win after these 30 years was the granting of two North Carolina hemp farmer’s licenses. The Farm Bill was drafted in progress in 2014 and officially passed in 2018 making hemp federally legalized. Thanks to this bill, BATCH by Wisconsin Hemp Scientific was able to be incorporated into the Wisconsin Hemp Pilot Program in 2018. Read our story here.
Although the 2018 Farm Bill was a success for hemp, the industry as a whole still faces the challenges of regulation. CBD is currently awaiting for the FDA to release statements regarding hemp and its processor’s claims across the country. Learning about hemp history can help us to understand that this plant has been benefitting civilizations for thousands of years.
Hemp's Future in the Environment
Like all plants, Hemp breathes in CO2, making the world greener in color and in climate. The nature of Hemp is resilient, making it easy to plant in many climates and resistant to many pests. It can also grow with minimal space and is pretty resistant to most weeds. For every ton grown of Hemp, it breathes in 1.63 tons of CO2! We’re proud to be a part of the hemp industry and its future growth. With more hemp being planted and harvested, we hope to see its benefits helping people as well as our Earth.