The first week of June is Hemp History Week. So strap on your learning caps and get ready to revitalize the hemp movement! This often maligned sibling of our beloved Sativas and Indicas deserves our respect and support.
Hemp history week lets us learn our past, grow our future
Hemp History Week is the largest, national grassroots campaign effort to restore strong support for industrial hemp farming in the United States. It aims to educate people about the rich cultural heritage of American hemp production.
From the ship rigging that made our newborn nation able to prosper to the canvas covered wagons that allowed pioneers to expand westward, hemp has helped us every step of the way. Even as recently as WWII, the United States government begged farmers to grow hemp to help our nation.
Now, in a new millennium, the people are once again being called on to realize how this wonder crop can help us usher in a new era of prosperity.
An American industry reborn
In 1937, Popular Mechanics magazine touted hemp as the “next billion dollar crop”. Right now, that crop is illegal to grow, and those billions of dollars are sent to other countries as all our hemp is imported. As a crop, it is more durable and water-savvy than cotton and produces more fiber per acre than timber. It also nets farmers 2 1/2 times more profit per acre than corn and soy.
Slowly, bills are being passed that allow states to return to the crop that built America, and Hemp Business Journal predicts that the US hemp industry will grow to a $16 billion dollar market by 2020.
Laws begin to turn around
During the 1930’s, industrial hemp was lumped in with recreational cannabis under the umbrella name of “marihuana”, and made illegal for farmers to grow without a Marihuana Tax Stamp, which was prohibitively expensive. During WWII, the lack of industrial fiber for the war effort was so drastic that the government temporarily encouraged farmers to again grow “Hemp for Victory”.
Then, in the 1970’s, it was again lumped in with recreational cannabis in the Controlled Substances Act.
Today, US manufacturers import all their hemp from Canada, Europe, and China. In 2014, Kentucky, Vermont, and Colorado became the first states to grow hemp on American soil under Section 7606, Legitimacy of Industrial Hemp Research, of the 2014 Federal Farm Bill.
The tediousness of this process is a mirror to cannabis’s struggle in that there is already a preponderance of decades of research, available even as the crop was being prohibited, as to its efficacy and value to the US farmer and US economy, as well as being a distinctive and unique strain apart from recreational cannabis.
Want to know more about the power of hemp?
Whether you are a farmer looking for a less water-expensive crop, a green business wanting to have higher quality products, or an entrepreneur wanting to get in on the industry that will revolutionize the nation, then you need to get involved with Hemp History Week and discover the burgeoning community of patriots that want to restore this nation’s heritage crop to its rightful place in our lives.
You too can get involved, with Hemp Business Summits, communities on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and contacting your state Representatives. You can also get involved at events or by supporting hemp businesses!
Do you know the full history and uses of hemp fiber and seeds? Can you imagine all the jobs that locally sourced hemp products could create for our nation? What about the world? Share your favorite hemp products with us on social media or in the comments below.