What Is the Legal History of Hemp?

Almost all of us have heard of hemp, and when you consider the history of hemp, this is really no wonder. Hemp is historically documented to have been one of the first plants cultivated by humans with its beginnings dating back to more than 10,000 years ago. In fact, what is thought to be one of the oldest relics of human history is a bit of hemp fabric dating back to approximately 8000 BCE. Truly, this is incredible.

Considering the incredible versatility of the hemp plant, it is truly no wonder that throughout history humans have found any number of uses for it. Some of those uses include:

Textiles: From rope to clothing, to industrial fabric, and everything in between, hemp has long been prized as a valuable source of textiles because of its long fibers and significant strength. Hemp is an excellent, environmentally sustainable textile choice, and the options for its use in the textile industry are many.

Paper: Hemp is a valuable source for producing paper as a result of the fact that it has four to five times larger fiber than wood pulp, which gives it a higher resistance and greater strength. While production costs are a bit higher, hemp is often used to make specialty papers such cigarette papers, banknotes, and filter papers to name a few.

Biodiesel: Increasingly, scientists and researchers are looking at hemp as a strong alternative to traditional fossil fuel sources. Clean-burning and renewable, many consider investment in hemp biodiesel research to be a valuable and useful choice for the future.

In fact, hemp is currently used in thousands of products globally, including the uses mentioned above, but also including uses for things like automotive parts, furniture, beauty products, nutritional products, plastics, and construction – to name only a few of the many.

While many are aware of the hemp plant itself and its numerous uses, there are still many misconceptions surrounding its history and legality. This is understandable as hemp is a varietal of the cannabis plant, like it’s very well-known cousin, marijuana. Many people, when they think of hemp, immediately makes the association with marijuana and wonder what the distinction is between the two plants and how that affects the legality of use.

The Legal History of Hemp

In the early colonial days of America, hemp was actually a very important crop that many Americans were actually required to grow for its many uses. Hemp was used for a wide variety of purposes and was widely prized for its versatility. This continued until the mid-1930s, when in 1937, Congress passed the Marijuana Tax Act. Effectively, this Act began the era of hemp prohibition as the tax and licensing regulations made it difficult for American farmers to cultivate hemp. At around the same time, anti-marijuana legislation, which included all varieties of the cannabis plant, including hemp, became increasingly popular.

In America, there was a brief reprieve from anti-hemp sentiment when the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor shut off supplies of manila hemp fiber from the Philippines that had been used for creation of wartime supplies. As a result, United States farmers were encouraged to grow hemp for the war effort. The United States government formed the War Hemp Industries Department and actually subsidized hemp cultivation during that time.

During that time, and in fact until the late 1960s, the United States government understood and acknowledged the difference between marijuana and industrial hemp. By recognizing that marijuana and hemp were two distinct varieties of the cannabis plant, and by recognizing the many uses of hemp, the government allowed hemp to continue to be used in a variety of ways; many benefitted from those uses.

From the Controlled Substances Act to the Farm Bill

Nevertheless, in 1970, the government passed the Controlled Substances Act, which again blurred the distinction between hemp and marijuana. Effectively, the passage of the act prevented the widespread growth and use of hemp, despite its many versatile uses. These limitations continued until as recently as 2018.

The 2018 Farm Bill, signed into law by President Trump, legalized hemp across the United States. This was provided that the hemp contained .3% or less of THC, which many recognize as the primary psychoactive ingredient in marijuana.

The passage of the Farm Bill was a significant boon for American farmers who are cultivating more and more acres of hemp across the country each year. As recently as 2018 it was estimated that a full 77,000 acres of hemp were cultivated across the United States. With the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill, that number is only expected to continue to increase.

Certainly, one increasingly common use of the hemp plant is for the extraction of CBD, an incredible wonder supplement that has burst onto the health and wellness scene in recent years. Indeed, as a result of the passage of the Farm Bill, CBD suppliers have been popping up all over the country, provided their products contain the requisite .3% or less THC.

This is excellent news for those who are seeking to supplement their health and wellness routine by using CBD. Certainly, however, not all CBD products are created equal; it is important to find a provider who focuses on creating a quality product sourced from naturally grown hemp and which includes all of the beneficial cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids that are desired without any of the unwanted chemicals, solvents, and pesticides that are not.

Om Grown Organics is one such provider, one that focuses on creating premium, safe, and effective CBD products that provide maximum benefits. Those looking to start using CBD can rest assured that they can now do so legally and with the confidence that they are choosing a product that will encourage wellness in a safe and natural way. At Om Grown Organics, our passion is providing premium products at reasonable prices as well as honest answers about the products we sell. If you have any further questions about the legality of hemp or CBD, or simply about a particular product of interest, we would welcome your questions and would enjoy the opportunity to talk with you further. Visit us today.