Hemp In the USA

Hemp is a hot topic today, it’s not the first time the plant has been involved in American culture. It points out that cannabis has a well-documented background in the United States. Records indicate that cannabis was first imported to North America in Jamestown in 1611. American farmers have grown the crop for a multitude of uses, including cloth, paper, and lantern oil. Although most farmers favored tobacco production, hemp was such a staple crop that it was constitutionally permitted by England in many of the colonies.

Years before hemp farming was criminalized in the United States, robust and organic crops played a key role in creating a modern industrialized economy. Hemp is one of the oldest plants to be cultivated by human society, due to the ease of growth in a multitude of climates.

First of all, what is hemp? 

Hemp, or synthetic hemp, is a plant species variety of Cannabis sativa that is primarily cultivated for the commercial application of its related products. This is one of the fastest-growing species, and it was one of the first species to spin into functional fiber 10,000 years ago. While cannabis as a product and industrial hemp both originates from the species Cannabis sativa and contains the psychoactive component tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), they are distinct varieties with specific phytochemical compositions and uses. Hemp has lower concentrations of THC and higher concentrations of cannabidiol (CBD) which reduce or remove its psychoactive effects. Some governments restrict the concentration of THC and require the only hemp to be bred with relatively low THC content.

British colonists required by law to grow hemp:

Hemp arrived in Colonial America with Puritans in the form of seed for planting and as fiber in the rows, sails, and cauliflower. British trading vessels were rarely lacking stock of hemp seed, and British colonists were, by rule, required to cultivate hemp. Hemp became the fiber of choice for maritime usage owing to its inherent resilience to decay and its adaptability to cultivation. Through warship and merchant vessels needed miles of hemp line and tons of hemp cloth, which meant the appetite of the Empire for goods was strong.

Ship captains were ordered to spread hemp seed widely to provide fiber wherever repairs might be needed in distant lands. Nearly 55 tons of fiber was needed for the lines and the rigging on the vessel alone. Even more hemp fiber was used to produce fabric for sails and caulking for the wooden hull. Where did all the hemp fiber come from? It arose in the cannabis Sativa fields of proud civil war-era farmers who initially grew a fibrous seed for the British Crown. Solid fibers shaped powerful nations in the pre-industrial period, and hemp became of strategic significance throughout the Civil War.

Hemp- An important commodity for colonial agriculture and the Republic:

 By the mid-1600s, hemp had been an important part of the economy in New England and in the south of Maryland and Virginia. In the years leading up to the Revolutionary War, the Colonies produced wire, cotton, linen, sacks, and paper from hemp. Much of the fiber was then intended for Uk use, while at least some of it was used for domestic purposes. Interestingly, the first copies of the Declaration of Independence were written on hemp paper. Hemp fiber was so important to the young Republic that, through patriotic obligation, farmers were required to cultivate it and were permitted to pay taxes with it.

George Washington grew cannabis and urged all people to grow a lot of cannabis. Thomas Jefferson had developed improved varieties of hemp and invented a special brake to break the stems of the plant during the harvesting of the fabric. Shortly thereafter, Robert McCormick (father of Cyrus McCormick who invented the first efficient harvester) patented a hemp fiber processor. Throughout the 20th century, Cyrus ‘ heirs also donated additional labor-saving harvesting devices to the hemp farmers through the International Harvester Co.

Hemp’s place in Colonial America: 

Marijuana or Hemp had already been grown by Native Americans in the New World before the colonists who had taken to the sea for a better life had come. Hemp fibers are extremely strong and sturdy, and native Americans have evolved to manufacture hemp yarn, hemp cordage, hemp fabrics, hemp paper, and hemp food.

The first recorded use of hemp in America’s colonial years’ dates from 1632, when the Virginia Assembly ordered that “any planter, as soon as possible, would grow the same seed of linseed and hemp and sowed.”

Soon afterward, courts in Massachusetts and Connecticut imposed similar laws for hemp and, in the 17th and 18th centuries, allowed growers in the American colonies to cultivate and harvest the product.

Hemp was exported to England, where it was used for clothing, shoes, maps, books, ship rigging, parachute webbing, baggage, sails, and tents. In more than 200 years, cannabis has also been deemed a legal tender that could be used to pay taxes. When the relationship between Britain and the American colonies went downhill, homegrown hemp was used for goods to help land soldiers and naval powers.

When the United States achieved freedom from England at the end of the 18th century, hemp became a commodity for early Americans. George Washington and Thomas Jefferson developed weed on their farms, and Benjamin Franklin established one of America’s first hemp paper mills. According to some scholars, the first copies of the Declaration of Independence were composed in hemp ink.

Hemp in the 19th and early 20th centuries:

 America’s reliance on cannabis grew in the 19th century. Production has expanded to other states, including Wisconsin, California, and Nebraska. Congress passed a bill in 1841 that required the Navy to buy hemp from domestic producers. Technological advances, including the Hemp Dresser and the Decorticator system, have revolutionized the market and increased the performance of processing and production processes.

The downturn in the American Hemp Industry: 

Over the 20th century, all hemp has been criminalized by individual states and the U.S. federal government. Because of the family connection of hemp to marijuana and the lack of knowledge about plant distinctions, regulation has been placed in a place that limits or bans all cannabis production.