History of American Hemp

by Michael Brown

The cultivation of hemp along with the production of hemp-based products has had a long, tumultuous legal history in the United States. Hemp—a variety of the Cannabis sativa plant species—is typically grown for its industrial uses. Although industrial hemp is derived from the same Cannabis sativa species as the marijuana plant, industrial hemp has lower concentrations of the psychoactive component tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and higher concentrations of cannabidiol (CBD) which decreases the psychoactive effects. Hemp is used to produce a variety of things, including fiber, paper, biodegradable plastics, biofuel, food products, and animal feed.

In the early days of the United States, hemp was freely grown for its industrial uses. By the mid-1930s, all cannabis was regulated as a drug in every state. The first national regulation of cannabis was the Marihuana Tax Act of 1937 which effectively made the possession and transportation of cannabis illegal throughout the United States. This law remained in effect until 1969, when the Supreme Court found the Act to be unconstitutional in Leary v. United States. In response to the Supreme Court’s decision, Congress passed the Controlled Substances Act of 1970 (CSA), which once again prohibited the use of cannabis for all purposes....

For more: Industrial Hemp – An Overview (https://nationalaglawcenter.org/overview/industrialhemp/)


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