Keiko Beatie: Hemp History Week Highlights Plant's Nutrition and Versatility
Hemp is making a comeback with a vengeance, and this year, we truly have much to celebrate during Hemp History Week, which is being held from June 4-10, 2018.
After many years of farmers being unable to cultivate hemp because of laws restricting the proliferation of the plant, we are experiencing the tides of change. Now, about three dozen US states may grow hemp thanks varying degrees of legislative protection, and it is exciting to celebrate this year’s achievements.
Historically in America, hemp was a mainstay for farmers. When George Washington was the father of our country, he encouraged farmers to grow hemp. Washington himself grew hemp at Mount Vernon. In pre-Revolutionary times to World War II, hemp products were an integral part of the manufacturing industry. The famous warship Old Ironsides was constructed with 120,000 pounds of hemp from its rigging to its sails. The material proved to be sustainable, strong, and the salty seas did not erode the hemp-made finishings of the historic battleship.
But in 1937, The Marijuana Tax Act was enacted and hemp became a stepchild of that movement. This law was directed to regulate the cannabis with high levels of THC and it soon snowballed to apply to all hemp production overseen by the Department of Revenue.
At the end of WWII, some farmers attempted to rally that hemp should be utilized for the war efforts, and hemp was allowed to be grown by select farmers. But the war came to the end and the country no longer felt the need for hemp. The evolution of synthetic fibers became more popular, and demand for hemp never recovered.
Now, hemp development is again on the rise. Washington, Oregon, California, Alaska, Hawaii, Nevada, Utah, Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, Nebraska, North Dakota, Minnesota, Illinois, Arkansas, Wisconsin,