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The Chronicles of Kaya

A History of Hemp & Marijuana

Here’s a fact: Hemp and Marijuana both come from the same plant; its scientific name is ‘Cannabis Sativa’. For thousands of years hemp was used to make dozens of commercial products like paper, rope, canvas, and textiles. U.S. Presidents and founding fathers George Washington and Thomas Jefferson grew hemp, used hemp products, and were hemp advocates. Benjamin Franklin owned one of the first paper mills in America and it processed hemp. It was legal to pay taxes with hemp in America from 1631 until the early 1800s. Refusing to grow hemp in America during the 17th and 18th centuries was against the law!

In 1916, the U.S. Government predicted that by the 1940s all paper would come from hemp and that no more trees need to be cut down. Government studies report that 1 acre of hemp equals 4.1 acres of trees. Plans were in the works to implement such programs. So what happened?

In 1937, Hemp was banned in the United States NOT because it was a harmful drug. It was banned because it was a competitive threat to the wood products industry and newly developed synthetic fibers that were patentable, and therefore more profitable than hemp. Corporations that profited from the demise of hemp propagated a smear campaign against hemp by claiming that marijuana use was a major drug problem (it was not) and that marijuana use caused people to become extremely violent—another falsehood. Unfortunately, these false claims went unchallenged and Congress outlawed hemp in 1937.

Irie