Cultivated for its bast fibre or edible hemp seeds and is often confused with cannabis plants that serve as sources of marijuana flower and similar preparations. Although both marijuana and hemp products contain tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), a compound that produces psychoactive effects in humans, the variety of cannabis cultivated for hemp and hemp oils has only small amounts of THC relative to that grown for the production of consumable marijuana. During World War II, the Marihuana Tax Act of 1937 was lifted briefly to allow for hemp fiber production to create ropes for the U.S. Navy. The potential of hemp remains an important discussion point, but after the war the United States reverted hemp to its illegal status.
Hemp is the strongest plant fiber in existence with over 50,000 uses and production in the U.S. has seen a resurgence in the last several years. Hemp in the United States continues to grow as the demand for products made of hemp and cannabinoid (CBD) become more desired. With the introduction of the 2018 farm bill and implementation of the domestic hemp production program in 2021, the regulatory framework for hemp has never been a hotter topic. Not only has the production of hemp throughout history educated the public on the cannabis sativa plant and cannabinoid in general, it has opened eyes to the face that hemp contains less than 0.3 percent THC.
It can be refined into a variety of commercial items including paper, clothing, biodegradable plastics, paint, insulation, biofuel, food, and animal feed.
In 1937, with alcohol prohibition being obsolete, the Department of Prohibition quickly ostracized hemp and hemp products and with a few powerful people tied strongly to the pulp and paper industry it made sense that hemp was targeted as competition. Thus began the funding of propaganda efforts against the evil "weed” throughout the United States. Recently though, much discussion around the plant has changed as cannabis legalization begins to sweep the states and consumers educate on the many uses of hemp and cannabis! To produce hemp, you currently need to be licensed or authorized under a state hemp program. Hemp producers may be eligible via a tribal hemp program, or the USDA hemp program as well. The program they are licensed under depends on the location of the growing facility and provides regulations for the production options available to producers. If you're looking to learn more reach out to your local state department of agriculture or tribal government to see if they have a production plan that has been submitted to or approved by USDA. The value of U.S. hemp production totaled $712 million.
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Ariana is a multimedia artist, cannabis advocate, and content creator based in Montana. Passionate about people and the planet, she finds purpose in helping plan and execute ideas striving for social and environmental improvement. She aims to be a conscious consumer and thought leader, believing that the cannabis community is key to changing the narrative of what it means to be a “stoner.”