The United States has a long and complicated history with hemp. From its early days as a crop grown by patriotic farmers to its current status as a federally regulated substance, hemp has been an integral part of the American story. Federal policies, reinforced by the Controlled Substances Act of 1970, have effectively banned industrial hemp production in the United States. This article will explore the history of hemp in the United States, from its early days as a crop grown by patriotic farmers to its current status as a federally regulated substance.
Hemp was an important part of the early history of the United States. It was grown by patriotic farmers during the War of Independence and was used to pay taxes for more than 150 years. However, attitudes towards hemp began to change in the early 20th century. In 1937, Congress passed the Marijuana Tax Act, which imposed heavy taxes on all hemp sales and effectively began the era of hemp prohibition in the United States.
The main promoter of the Tax Act, Harry Anslinger, began to promote legislation against marijuana around the world. The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor disrupted the Philippines' foreign supply of jute fiber (colloquially called “Manila hemp”). In response, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) produced a film called “HEMP For Victory” to encourage American farmers to grow hemp for war. The government created the War Hemp Industries Department and subsidized the crop.
Farmers cultivated about one million acres of hemp throughout the Midwest as part of that program. After the end of the war, however, the government silently shut down all hemp processing plants and the industry disappeared again. Two weeks ago, however, North Carolina took a step towards reversing this trend when the House of Representatives and Senate approved a bill that would legalize industrial hemp production in the state. Supporters of industrial hemp farms often try to draw attention to this point when discussing the legal framework surrounding the plant, as it invalidates much of the reasoning behind its regulation. The government has published numerous reports and other documents on hemp that date back to the beginning of our country. Hemp has been an integral part of American history since its earliest days and it is clear that it will continue to play an important role in our future.