Was Popular Mechanics right when it said in 1938, that industrial hemp can make 25,000 products? Perhaps when the Hemp Farming Act is passed and hemp farming is legalized nationwide, the country will finally get to explore that potentiality, as an entire industry re-emerges and grows.
If you happen to be unclear about what "hemp" is, it's also Cannabis Sativa - the same plant that produces 'marijuana,' though hemp doesn't share the psychoactive properties. Marijuana's active ingredient is THC, which is the 'get you high' factor. Hemp's main active cannabinoid is cannabidiol, or CBD, which can't get you 'high;' the hemp plant does contain a trace amount of THC; the legal amount is not more than 0.3 % THC.
Hemp's existence predates every industrialized country; our connection with the plant isn't new. The production and usage of hemp throughout the 13 colonies is documented and was a major economic cornerstone. At one point, according to an October 2017 Reason Magazine story, Kentucky, produced 40 tonnes of hemp during the 1850s. Between 1720 and 1870, there were at approximately 100 water-powered hemp fiber processing mills in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, according the author of Hempstone Heritage. The advent of the cotton gin around 1794 would slowly contribute to the migration from hemp farming to cotton and other crops such tobacco and corn.
As other industries began to emerge: lumber, paper, steel, oil, tobacco and cotton industries - which industrial hemp could compete with, it's arguable that special interests begun to vilify the cannabis plant, beginning about 1929. By 1935, public perception begun to be subjected to smear campaigns and tactics - from hemp being labeled as "marihuana" to fear-mongering visuals like Reefer Madness, which also negatively portrayed Mexican and African people; sadly, an early version of the 'drug war' was being incubated.
The 1937 marijuana tax act and other factors began to disrupt to a halt, hemp farming in America. The tax act required farmers to pay for a special stamp to grow hemp, which apparently became too expensive. The act also now considered cannabis a narcotic.
Then, during the second world war, the government mandated that farmers once again grow hemp to supply military demand for rope, material for canvas, sails for ships, shoes, clothes etc - all of which hemp made. The documentary Hemp For Victory served as a PR campaign towards that end. When the world war was over, industrial hemp was again kicked to the curb and in then in 1970, cannabis was classified as a Schedule 1 drug in the Controlled Substances Act, signed into law by President Nixon; the drug war had survived incubation and was ready to born.
Not surprisingly, the re-emerging Hemp industry is already a multimillion-dollar business, employing hundreds of people, reports Reason Magazine. This by the way, is happening across multiple states, albeit in varying capacities. It was the 2014 federal farm bill that had an amendment giving the green light to states to develop industrial hemp programs, if they pass their own industrial hemp laws.
The Reason report states that Kentucky grew about 13,000 acres of industrial Hemp in 2017. According to Vote Hemp, 21 states grew hemp in 2017. In the 2018 season, hemp farming continue in states such as Colorado, Oregon, Kentucky, Vermont, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Tennessee and others.
There’s something about the hemp plant, all that it does, can do and be made into, that causes it to be of such great intrigue. That intrigue is helping to fuel the re-emerging of an industry in America, now.
I am a Reggae singer/songwriter, indie radio curator/dj/host, health & wellness advocate and a Hemp enthusiast with Hemp Awareness Tour:
#hemp #hempenthusiasts #industrialhemp #hempfarmingact