What's the REAL Story about Hemp?!

Hemp has been used for thousands of years long before people started extracting CBD from it. Today, most people incorrectly assume that hemp is marijuana. Cannabis plants have been bred to be more and more intoxicating with very high levels of THC. Hemp, on the other hand, has been bred for other cannabinoids and is not intoxicating at all.

Brief History of Hemp

The earliest known fabric was woven from hemp between 8,000 and 7,000 BCE. Around 4,000 BCE, hemp was used to make pottery in China. Fast forward a few thousand years to 140 BCE, and the first known manmade paper was made with hemp.

Hemp usage in the U.S. dates all the way back to the first American settlements in Jamestown in 1616. In those days, hemp was used to produce ropes, sails, and clothing. In fact, many other colonies, including Georgia, Massachusetts, and Connecticut, grew hemp as a valuable cash crop – some even made growing hemp mandatory. Even George Washington himself once told a plantation manager to let hemp “grow everywhere.”

Hemp made its mark in American history around the year 1631 when it became a legal form of currency. Hemp could even be used to pay taxes! The Declaration of Independence was even drafted on hemp paper in 1776!

So how did hemp go from being America’s cash crop darling to needing multiple federal bills to see the light of day? In short – racism and greed.

The Impact of Racism and Greed

After enjoying nearly 10,000 years as the Swiss army knife of cash crops, hemp hit a wall in the early 20th century. Racially motivated activist groups began demonizing cannabis as a dangerous drug used by minorities to destroy society. Unfortunately, this rhetoric struck a nerve with many, and all cannabis production in the United States was targeted.

There was also additional pressure from the rope, paper, and other textile producers to ban hemp production as the affordability and effectiveness of hemp-based products were destroying their profits.

As a result, the Marihuana Tax Act of 1937 was passed. This act prohibited the consumption of cannabis and heavily regulated hemp production, only allowing government-approved hemp producers to grow or sell a certain amount. This heavily discouraged the production of the plant.

Briefly, hemp production was back in full swing starting in 1942, thanks to the USDA Hemp for Victory program. The program was put in place to produce hemp ropes and textiles, which were used in World War II efforts.

In 1970, the hemp industry hit another wall in the U.S.: the Controlled Substances Act went into effect, leaving hemp with Schedule One Substance classification. Marijuana, heroin, and methamphetamines were all given the same classification.

The Farm Bill of 2014 established pilot programs for hemp farming again. Under the Farm Bill, farmers could grow hemp under USDA and state supervision. Finally, the 2018 Farm Bill removed hemp as a Schedule One Substance.

Hemp Today

Today, hemp is legal to grow, and it is used for a variety of reasons. Building a business in this industry is still tough due to the stigma associated with cannabis. The farm bill made growing and distribution of hemp legal, but no other structures were established for the industry to effectively operate.

Basically, the current system is broken. There’s a lack of financial services, like banking and insurance. It’s almost impossible to effectively grow a business. Our mantra is to build the system and set the standard for an industry that’s being built like an airplane while it’s flying. It’s moving fast, but still doesn’t have everything it needs. 

Hemp, sometimes called the God Plant, has so many different medical uses and it’s good for the planet as well. We’re committed to working with growers who are committed to providing high-quality, safe products to consumers. Though there are no Federal standards, California has moved forward with establishing clear standards for the sale of hemp and CBD products.

Learn more about Hemp and CBD here on our blog. Interested in staying up to date on the latest news and special offers? Make sure to connect with us on JKDistro.com


Written by Tracie James
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