What is Hemp?

Hemp is one of the most eco-friendly, useful plants ever known. This quick-growing, easily-cultivated plant has the power of plastics without trashing our oceans. It sequesters carbon much like a forest but produces a more sustainable paper. Oh yeah, it can also lead us to healthier lives and is now being researched for its medicinal properties. At Hempfulness, we know that this amazing plant can benefit the planet and the lives of everyone on it.

Hemp, also referred to as industrial hemp, is defined as a member of the Cannabis sativa L family that contains less than 0.3% tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) on a dry weight basis. THC is the psychoactive compound that gets users “high” and is found most prevalent in marijuana. It is definitely easy to confuse hemp and marijuana because they are from the same genus of plant but the amounts of phytocannabinoids they produce are very different.

Brief History of hemp

Hemp is thought to be the earliest plant cultivated for textile fiber after archaeologists found a piece of hemp cloth in ancient Mesopotamia dating back to 8,000 BC. That was 10,000 years ago! Many cultures have used hemp throughout history. The Chinese made the world’s first paper out of hemp in 150 BC.

Fast forward to colonial times where hemp rope and sails were used to discover the new world. America’s founding fathers drafted the Declaration of Independence on hemp paper. The United States was building a country from scratch and hemp was part of its foundation. Hemp was a major crop for the U.S. from 1776 to 1937.

If hemp is so good, why haven’t we been taking advantage of it lately? Simply put, it has been unjustly illegal in the United States since September of 1937. Heavily influenced by the lobbying of synthetic textile companies, the United States government passed prohibitive tax laws and implemented an occupational excise tax upon hemp dealers. Hemp production was banned completely after The Marijuana Tax Act of 1937 was passed. This was a major setback to hemp and the government’s war on drugs continued.

Until 2016, The United States of America was the only industrialized country to not allow the farming of hemp. Howver, this changed with the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill. After 80 years of suppression in the United States, there is new hope for hemp. We can once again realize the amazing benefits and uses of this plant.

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