Throughout all of written human history hemp has been a huge boon in the agriculture and civilization development of almost all societies that were able to get their hands on it. Its use for textiles, construction, and even food has been with us for at least 16,000 years but has only been prohibited as it is now for the past 60 or so years. So, why did we prohibit the growth of the plant that provided such benefits to people? Well, the hemp plant can also become the Cannabis plant if grown properly. Hemp and hemp oil itself has no psychoactive properties, but since Cannabis is related to hemp it has been very strictly prohibited unfairly.
In the area of modern Asia there is much archaeological evidence of Hemp use throughout all ancient societies. Huge fields of the plant were grown to provide food and clothing for the people, as it grew quickly and was incredibly sturdy as well as nutritious. Evidence of the benefits of growing hemp exist throughout most of Europe as it spread incredibly rapidly throughout the continent once trade began with China. There are arguments to say that Hemp may have been the first agricultural crop of all, and the agricultural revolutions and the society that lies upon this basis we live in today exists because of this plant.
After this period the Spanish were the first to bring the plant over to the New World. In about 1545, the first hemp crops were being cultivated in what is now modern Chile. After noting its ability to grow extremely well in the America’s climates, the crop spread all around the continents with many farms popping up all over.
But, ancient history is ancient history. In more modern times, such as the founding of the Americas by European colonists, Hemp was a mandatory crop. In fact, it was so important, that it was actually illegal not to grow it if you had the land for farming. These laws existed in Jamestown, Massachusetts, and Connecticut. Even the founding fathers of the USA, Franklin, Jefferson, Washington, and many more grew their own Hemp to help the growing economy of the new country as it was used to make rope and fabric becoming a huge boon and cash crop to the country. The Declaration of Independence was even drafted on Hemp paper made in the US.
It was not until the 1930’s that Hemp became actively repressed in the States, despite the historical and economic significance of the plant. The Marihuana Tax Act of 1937 was passed in the USA, through a combination of fear mongering by the media from the dangers of using the substance recreationally and a group of elites who did not wish for hemp to compete against nylon and paper pulp any longer. These rich men set out on a campaign to effectively ban by levying high taxes against anyone who dealt in any type of Hemp, Cannabis seeds, or Pot Seeds; this campaign was highly successful at pushing this traditional resource out of the hand of the public. One such
Originally this campaign was against hemp, and anything related to it. However, once the tax act went through there were many that were still frightened by the prospect of Marijuana abuse. The ad campaigns, which consisted of unfounded acts of violence and complete racism at times were somewhat too effective on the majority of the populous and an outright ban soon became the next step. Hemp was no longer the topic of concern, but it was lumped together as the plants are closely related.
Still, before the outright ban that was to come, the US government put together a pro-hemp film called “Hemp for Victory” that was made to encourage farmers to grow hemp for the war effort of WWII. The film detailed how to grow hemp, the history of it, and how it is processed into various useful products. Interestingly, the US government denied this film ever existed for many years until 1989 when two VHS copies were recovered.
By 1970, despite the wishy-washy stance by the US government, the controlled substances act was passed. Since Hemp shares that relation with Cannabis, it was banned as well and any importation of hemp products must meet a zero tolerance for THC despite the levels already being too low for any real effects from the plant. Some states have, since then, attempted to legalize the growth of industrial hemp but no large scale production has gone underway due to fear of prosecution by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).
Despite the bans in the US, many European countries continue to produce industrial hemp for its many benefits. France is the largest producer currently with over 8,000 hectacres cultivated per year, with 70-80% of it used for pulp in cigarette papers and technical applications. The rest is used in various farming, automotive, and insulation purposes. The total product of hemp is, sadly, on the decline as year to year less and less is grown as alternatives that are easier to sell around the world are being used to increase profits.
As the world gains an increase in knowledge based on the past, and the injustices that have been done to mislead us against a highly beneficial plant, things will change. Mean while countries like UK have a very strong stance towards hemp and cannabis seeds, arresting anyone with it possession. Cannabis industries have thrived however in UK with companies like Ice HeadShop selling cannabis seeds like https://www.iceheadshop.co.uk/cannabis-seeds.html, by claiming these are novelty items. Luckily CBD related items thus far are not that strongly regulated and this industry as a result has also thrived . Pesticides have been big news lately, as the damage to our health from the over use of these becomes widely known, hemp is being seen as a great environmentally friendly alternative to many plants that require these damaging chemicals as hemp yield is not affected by diseases unlike many of our current cash crops. Beyond this, it is a carbon negative raw material; meaning that the growth of this plant, even in an industrial farming situation, pulls more CO2 out of the air than the amount produced in the farming process.
With the world changing, and people going back to the older ways in certain situations, hemp may very well come back in a big way as its uses are innumerable and the benefits it can have to an economy and environment are well known throughout history.