Hemp in History
America’s hemp history is odd.
While it’s the same plant as marijuana, hemp is all but void of THC and has to remain so, by law.
So why do some people look at hemp production as something they should be wary of doing? After all, it’s a legal, viable cash crop and a commodity that has many uses and benefits.
But not long ago, growing hemp was illegal.
Prior to 1937, hemp farming was a thriving industry. Hemp farms were common.
But that year The Marijuana Tax Act was enacted and this drove many farmers out of the business despite the fact more and more uses for hemp were being discovered.
In 1942, the USDA launched a war-time bid to encourage hemp farming to help supply the navy with enough rope for its' ships. At that time, more than 150,000 acres were put back into production.
But eventually, the effects of the Tax Act took their toll on hemp farming and in 1957, the last commercial hemps fields were planted in Wisconsin.
Then, in 1970, the Controlled Substances Act classified hemp as an illegal Schedule I drug, despite the fact it cannot get you high.
This classification effectively ended the hemp farming industry, but in the late 1990s, the U.S. began to import hemp seed and oil and this led to some rethinking of hemp laws.
In 2004, a court ruling legally protected sales of hemp and its derivatives.
Slowly, hemp farms began to resurface.
In 2013, hemp farming became legal in Vermont.
Six years later, only a fraction of the arable land that could be utilized growing hemp has been put into production, but that number steadily grows.
One of the biggest obstacles to that growth is hemp’s relatively recent history as a legal crop. But as more people learn more about hemp and it’s history, the trend toward increased cultivation and usage will continue unabated.