Hemp became Earth’s first agricultural industry.Hemp allowed people of the Neolithic era to graduate from wearing animal hides to wearing clothes and shoes fashioned from cloth. Hemp proved to be a durable textile with its insulating and absorbent qualities. The hemp seed was utilized as the main grain and eventually pressed into oil.
30 B.C. – 200 A.D.
The Roman Empire extends from The Middle East across to Britain including Gaul (modern France), Spain and Northern Africa. A time of peace and commerce under Roman rule, hemp and cannabis are cultivated for both industrial and medicinal effect. In Pliny the Elder’s The Natural History (Naturalis Historia, 79 AD), writes about hemp rope and marijuana’s natural analgesic effects. Many other medicinal texts (or pharmacopoeia) hail cannabis’s restorative effects, and also list their descriptions of preparation and use. Pliny’s notation validates this. “The roots (of the cannabis plant) boiled in water ease cramped joints, gout too and similar violent pain.”
Lucius Junius Columela of Spain, was a Roman soldier and farmer who penned an extensive 12 volume agricultural work, The De re Rustica. Columela’s work outlined the methods of hemp cultivation of the time. The De re Rustica could be considered the first “grow book” of the Roman Era.
Chinese surgeon Hua T’o uses marijuana as an anesthetic and also lists it in the first Eastern pharmacopoeia.
Guttenberg Bible printed on hemp paper.
Queen Elizabeth I issued a decree commanding that landowners holding sixty acres or more must grow hemp or pay a fine.
Hemp moved west with the Pioneers. Kentucky was the principal producer of hemp fiber until the Civil War.
Henry Ford made his first Model T with hemp and flax fiber plastic, fueled by hemp ethanol. Research on bio-fuel was of interest due to the demand of the industrial age.
The cultivation of hemp is illegal in the U.S., however the government policy regarding hemp was soon forgotten and ignored by the Federal government, who established a new program for hemp cultivation to support the war effort. American farmers were recruited into service to cultivate hemp and produce valuable products for the war effort such as twine, rope and oil. The U.S. Department of Agriculture promoted the War Hemp Industries Corporation program to encourage U.S. farmers to cultivate hemp. To reeducate farmers on the cultivation and uses of hemp, the Department of Agriculture produced a film called “Hemp for Victory”.
1960 – 2000s
Hemp advocacy began sweeping the nation with activist such as Jack Herer, Mia Farrow, Carl Packard and Jim Evens leading movements and encouraging conversations.
The Farm Bill opened pilot programs to states for commercial growth of industrial hemp crops and product manufacturing.
The Farm Bill gave FDA control over hemp derived CBD products and regulations.