In the United States, the cultivation of hemp is illegal. Hypocritically, this is despite the fact that Americans legally purchase hundreds of millions of dollars worth of hemp products; hemp cereals, lotions and clothing line the shelves of places like Wal-Mart and Costco. The ridiculousness becomes even thicker when you take into account the fact that hundreds of years ago, before modern science and research can tell us the benefits of hemp, our ancestors understood it.
In 1619, one of the first ever hemp laws was established in the then-named Virginia Assembly. The law required many colonists to grow hemp, fining those who didn’t. They did this because they felt it was so drastically important to the welfare of their society.
As noted by PBS, hemp was actually used as legal tender starting around this time. In the states of Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Maryland, it was like this for roughly 200 years, well into the 19th century, and well after America became an independent nation.
Fast-forward to the 1940s, years past the start of “Reefer Madness” and the introduction of the Marijuana Stamp Act, and the government still understood how important hemp was to our society. The government even went as far as offering World War II draft deferments to farmers who grew hemp, even handing out fertilized hemp seeds to farmers themselves.
Just several months after this started, in 1943, farmers who were part of this system (getting a deferment or free hemp seeds) produced over 375,000 acres of hemp.
After that, hemp fell the way of intense propaganda and special interests, with the government no longer discerning between industrial hemp, and psychoactive cannabis.
Skipping ahead many years, this propaganda still rules our legal system, with hemp remaining illegal on the federal level, with the only recent concession being the allowance of state-level hemp research. Although federal legislation continues to be introduced to legalize hemp, it always stalls in both the House and Senate.
Despite this, numerous states have legalized hemp on the state level, with farmers growing it this very minute.