The 5-Minute History of Hemp

Global Hemp History

The hemp plant has been cultivated and used by humans for thousands of years. According to the Britannica, the plant originated in Central Asia where it was used for its fiber properties. It was first recorded in China in 2800 BCE and was also prevalently used in Mediterranean European countries during the Christian era. Due to human cultivation, the plant quickly spread around the world and can now be found on almost every continent on the planet.

The hemp plant is grown around the world mostly as an annual crop in temperate zones.

United States Hemp History

The hemp plant first made landfall in North America at an unknown timeframe, but early records shows that Native populations were cultivating it for 1000’s of years. Additionally, settlers of Jamestown introduced European cultivars as an agricultural resource. It was grown for its fiber which was used to create rope, textile for clothing, and ship materials. 

Fun Fact: The United States Declaration of Independence was even drafted on hemp paper.

What Happen to Hemp in the US?

(Special Interest Group Propaganda Era)

The hemp plant was widely cultivated in the United States up until 1937 when the ‘Marihuana Tax Act’ was implemented which placed a large tax on commercially produced hemp-derived products. The new act was pushed by special interest in the timber industry who wanted wood pulp for paper production to dominate the market. In addition, special interest groups involved with manufacturing synthetic fibers derived from petroleum production were involved in the development of this tax act as well.

(Hemp Prohibition Era)

In 1970, the hemp plant was soon grouped into the ‘Controlled Substances Act’ which classified hemp, along with cannabis, as illegal substances in the United States. This act would federally prohibit the hemp plant from being cultivated and sold in the United States.

(Post-Prohibition Era) 

In 2014, the ‘Farm Bill of 2014’ was passed by President Barak Obama allowing for legal hemp cultivation AGAINunder certain strict criteria and Government oversight. This was the first monumental step in the right direction for the hemp industry.

In 2018, the ‘Farm Bill of 2018’ was enacted and completely removed hemp from the Federal Controlled Substances list. This Federal law allows for full commercial cultivation of hemp in the United States once again. After 30+ years of hemp prohibition in the United States, it is officially a legal agricultural good once more.

What’s Next?

Now that you have learned the history of Hemp, feel free to learn more from our weekly blog posts! Our website is full of educational material to help you stay up-to-date and also become a successful home grower. Simply click on our Blog tab below and learn more about this ever-changing industry.


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