United States Department of Agriculture

...Hemp is only starting to become a cash crop now. However, the history of hemp use dates back to ancient times. In fact, the weaving of hemp fiber began over 10,000 years ago. It was used in ancient India, Egypt, China and more with traces of its use from both carbon dating and ancient texts. The ancients likely discovered hemp while searching for textiles. The traces date so far back that Carl Sagan has theorized cannabis could have been the world’s first agriculture crop.

In 1850, the United States census noted 8,400 hemp plantations of at least 2000 acres in the country. Less than a century later, the 1937 Marihuana Tax Act made it almost impossible for American farmers to make hemp.

In 1942, the United States Department of Agriculture made a war-time film called Hemp for Victory to encourage farmers to grow hemp suitable for the U.S. Navy’s ropes. Tax stamps were used as an incentive to get farmers to start growing hemp again. However, in 1969, the Marijuana Tax Act was ruled to be unconstitutional because anyone that claims one is essentially admitting to illegally growing marijuana. Unfortunately, this decision was repealed by the next year with the passing of a new Act.

In 1970, the Controlled Substances Act repealed the 1937 Act and the flaw that made it unconstitutional to enforce. Then, hemp and marijuana were grouped together making both federally illegal. It has only been safe to make hemp in the United States since the 2014 Farm Bill signed by President Barack Obama...

Kate Paulley