How far back does hemp date? What was it used for back then? Here are answers to these interesting questions.

The Origins of Hemp

History of HempHemp fiber has been weaved for more than 10,000 years. Impressive! Cultivation of the ancient plant goes back to 800AD in Great Britain. Then, in the 16th century, farmers grew the crop to help provide hemp to the navy of Britain. Hemp fiber and oil were used to help make parts of battleships, from the sails to pendants and riggings.

Historic Laws & Hemp

Back in the 17th Century in the United States, the laws in Massachusetts, Virginia, and Connecticut ordered farmers to grow Indian hemp. There were over 8,000 hemp plantations in the U.S. in 1850, as per a U.S. census document; each plantation was 2,000 acres, at a minimum. If farmers didn’t do so in the 18th century, they risked going to jail!

Harvesting hemp was done for many years by farmers using a handbrake-operated machine. Then a machine was created to do all of the processes, from breaking the stalks to cleaning the fiber. This equipment reduced labor costs and increased the efficiency of hemp harvesting. The hemp crop was fully managed by machinery by 1920.

Decease of Hemp in the U.S.

Over the years, though, hemp has suffered a major demise. As hemp was seen as a threat to competing industries, it was associated with marijuana and positioned to the public as being an evil of sorts. Soon films such as “Reefer Madness” were responsible for hemp’s death in the U.S.

When the Marijuana Tax Act was passed in 1937, tax and licensing rules made hemp cultivation almost totally improbable for American farmers. Then when the Controlled Substances Act passed, hemp was not seen as being different than marijuana – although of course we know that it is!

History of Hemp Videos


Hemp History

The People's History