The hemp plant is, from a botanical perspective, one of the most advance plant life on the face of the earth. Its natural versatility as an edible crop, as a raw material and as a psychoactive substance has been recognized for at least 3,000 years. The fact that the plant possesses the ability to self-reproduce (owing to the prevalence of hermaphrodites among the male and female majority of the plant), its highly evolved pest repulsion characteristics and the liberal growth condition it requires, ensures the plant’s prominence among many civilizations along the corridors of history.

The hemp’s medicinal properties are also highly sought after, and has been documented for its effectiveness on a variety of ailments. Early American history is littered by the strategic economical and sociological role it played in our nation building. Some of the most memorable landmarks the hemp had in our history are chronologically summarized here.

1619 Jamestown Colony, Virginia
Farmers are compelled by law to grow the hemp

1631 Massachusetts
Hemp cultivation were made mandatory under the law

1632 Connecticut
Similar laws were enacted requiring farmers to plant an acreage of hemp in their land

1631–1811 National
Hemp was an accepted bartering commodity among the business community. In fact, payment of government taxes with hemp was also accepted in several states.

1763–1767 Virginia
During the hemp shortage caused by a prolonged dry season the previous planting season, some farmers were incarcerated for refusing to plant the hemp, choosing instead to farm the more lucrative tobaccos.

1786 France
Benjamin Franklin, American Statesman and one time ambassador to France was reported to be personally involved in an elaborate attempt to procure prized Chinese hempseeds from a rogue Turkish agent. The Chinese government made exportation of their hempseed as a capital crime then to prevent their much sought after hempseeds from falling into the hands of outsiders. Franklin was also responsible for the first 18 paper mills using purely hemp fibers in the state of Virginia.

1873 Sacramento, San Francisco
Jacob Davis and Levi Strauss produced the first of the legendary Levi’s jeans using pure hemp fabric

The United States government has also repeatedly gone on record since the 1937 Marijuana Tax Act stating the dangerThere were numerous other historical references on hemp during the period. For instance, marijuana extracts were the heaviest prescribed medicine during the 19th century in the United States. A multitude of large pharmaceutical and health companies led the thrust in popularizing this almost magical and low risk product to Americans at large.

Even the shipping industry was heavily dependent on the hemp until the emergence of the steam engine. Until then, almost every aspect of shipping involved the hemp; from the sails, ropes, nets, sealants and even a sailors’ attires was made from hemp.

Suffice to say, the hemp plant was the most important plant in the United States..


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