A Rediscovery of Hemp
For thousands of years, hemp has been cultivated as an important food and fiber on earth. The hemp plant has been used to make dozens of products like paper, rope, canvas, and textiles.
Hemp was first introduced in North America in 1606. The American farmer grew hemp and advocated its uses and benefits. U.S. Presidents and founding fathers George Washington and Thomas Jefferson also grew hemp, used hemp products, and were hemp advocates.
The first draft of the Declaration of Independence was written by Thomas Jefferson on hemp paper. Betsy Ross made the first American flag from industrial hemp.
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. So what happened?
On the eve of Marijuana prohibition in the U.S., two articles about hemp appeared in major U.S. magazines; ‘The Most Profitable And Desirable Crop That Can Be Grown’ from: Mechanical Engineering, February 26, 1937, and ‘New Billion-Dollar Crop’ from: Popular Mechanics, February 1938. The two articles praised hemp as a super crop because of the new hemp processing technologies that were developed.
Hemp never reached its potential because of the 1937 Marijuana Tax Act (marijuana prohibition). The law made all cannabis cultivation illegal.
Hemp was banned in the United States NOT because it was a harmful drug. Hemp was banned because it posed a competitive threat to the wood products industry as well as a newly developed synthetic fiber that was patentable.
Facts an’ t’ings
Let’s look at the environmental, economic and health benefits of Hemp.
- Hemp fiber is the strongest natural fiber in the world… period.
- 1 acre of hemp equals 4.1 acres of trees.
- For every 20 liters of water cotton needs to grow, hemp needs only 1 liter.
- Hemp naturally repels weed growth and is resistant to bugs. Hemp does not require herbicides or pesticides.
- All hemp products are completely biodegradable, recyclable, and hemp is a reusable resource in every aspect: pulp, fiber, protein, cellulose, oil, or biomass.
- Building materials that substitute for wood can be made from hemp. These wood-like building materials are stronger than wood and can be manufactured cheaper than wood from trees. Using these hemp-derived building materials would reduce building costs and save even more trees!
- Hemp benefits our planet by reducing deforestation and the erosion happening to our environment.
- Hemp seeds as a food source are very nutritious.