A versatile plant, cultivated for generations
Hemp is a staple crop, some 10,000 years old and originally from Asia. The plant was originally grown for its fiber and seeds and was used to make pottery, lamp oil, rope clothing and shoes. Known as “Sacred Grass” and “King of Seeds”, hemp was used to produce sails and ropes for the ships exploring new lands. In 1606, hemp plants were introduced to North America and became a new staple crop. Hemp holds an interesting place in our history since the fiber was used to make the American Flag, paper for our money and it’s said that drafts of the Declaration of Independence were printed on hemp paper.
Industrial Hemp vs Marijuana
In more recent times, the United States government created the Marijuana Act of 1937 to control the drug use in the United States by levying a tax on the plants. They combined Hemp with Marijuana in the act and due to perceived competition, the cotton and tobacco industries became major players in shutting down the hemp industry. Hemp made a comeback during World War II and our government promoted the slogan “Hemp for Victory”. American farmers again began to grow hemp for war efforts to make uniforms, canvas and rope. The legality of growing hemp has come and gone over the years. In 1970, it became illegal to grow hemp in the United States, but by 2004, imports of hemp seed and oil for food consumption was allowed again. In 2007, hemp licenses were granted to two farmers in North Dakota. In 2015, The Industrial Hemp Farming Act, which separates industrial hemp from Marijuana, was introduced into legislation and the 2018 Farm Bill now legalizes the (regulated) production of hemp and allows hemp to be grown legally with hemp licenses granted by each state.