Here is an article I found that does a nice summary on the history of Hemp and its uses.
Hemp - Could Save AmericaThe Weed That Can Change The World From Varied Sources 2-25-4
captured and shared here from http://www.rense.com/general49/could.htm
1) Hemp is among the oldest industries on the planet, going back more than 10,000 years to the beginnings of pottery. The Columbia History of the World states that the oldest relic of human industry is a bit of hemp fabric dating back to approximately 8,000 BC.
2) Presidents Washington and Jefferson both grew hemp. Americans were legally bound to grow hemp during the Colonial Era and Early Republic. The federal government subsidized hemp during the Second World War and US farmers grew about a million acres of hemp as part of that program.
3) Hemp Seed is far more nutritious than even soybean, contains more essential fatty acids than any other source, is second only to soybeans in complete protein (but is more digestible by humans), is high in B-vitamins, and is 35% dietary fiber. Hemp seed is not psychoactive and cannot be used as a drug. See TestPledge.com
4) The bark of the hemp stalk contains bast fibers which are among the Earth's longest natural soft fibers and are also rich in cellulose; the cellulose and hemi-cellulose in its inner woody core are called hurds. Hemp stalk is not psychoactive. Hemp fiber is longer, stronger, more absorbent and more insulative than cotton fiber.
5) According to the Department of Energy, hemp as a biomass fuel producer requires the least specialized growing and processing procedures of all hemp products. The hydrocarbons in hemp can be processed into a wide range of biomass energy sources, from fuel pellets to liquid fuels and gas. Development of biofuels could significantly reduce our consumption of fossil fuels and nuclear power.
6) Hemp grows well without herbicides, fungicides, or pesticides. Almost half of the agricultural chemicals used on US crops are applied to cotton.
7) Hemp produces more pulp per acre than timber on a sustainable basis, and can be used for every quality of paper. Hemp paper manufacturing can reduce wastewater contamination. Hemp's low lignin content reduces the need for acids used in pulping, and it's creamy color lends itself to environmentally friendly bleaching instead of harsh chlorine compounds. Less bleaching results in less dioxin and fewer chemical byproducts.
8) Hemp fiber paper resists decomposition, and does not yellow with age when an acid-free process is used. Hemp paper more than 1,500 years old has been found. It can also be recycled more times.
9) Hemp fiberboard produced by Washington State University was found to be twice as strong as wood-based fiberboard.
10) Eco-friendly hemp can replace most toxic petrochemical products. Research is being done to use hemp in manufacturing biodegradable plastic products: plant-based cellophane, recycled plastic mixed with hemp for injection-molded products, and resins made from the oil, to name just a very few examples.
Hemp is among the oldest industries on the planet, going back more than 10,000 years to the beginnings of pottery. The Columbia History of the World states that the oldest relic of human industry is a bit of hemp fabric dating back to approximately 8,000 BC.
Presidents Washington and Jefferson both grew hemp. Americans were legally bound to grow hemp during the Colonial Era and Early Republic.
In 1937 Congress passed the Marihuana Tax Act which effectively began the era of hemp prohibition. The tax and licensing regulations of the act made hemp cultivation unfeasable for American farmers. The chief promoter of the Tax Act, Harry Anslinger, began promoting anti-marijuana legislation around the world. To learn more about hemp prohibition visit http://www.JackHerer.com or check out "The Emperor Wears No Clothes" by Jack Herer
Then came World War II. The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor shut off foreign supplies of "manilla hemp" fiber from the Phillipines. The USDA produced a film called Hemp For Victory to encourage US farmers to grow hemp for the war effort. The US government formed War Hemp Industries and subsidized hemp cultivation. During the War and US farmers grew about a million acres of hemp across the midwest as part of that program.
After the war ended, the government quietly shut down all the hemp processing plants and the industry faded away again.
During the period from 1937 to the late 60's the US government understood and acknowledged that Industrial Hemp and marijuana were distinct varieties of the cannabis plant. Hemp is no longer recognized as distinct from marijuana since the passage of the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) of 1970. This is despite the fact that a specific exemption for hemp was included in the CSA under the definition of marijuana.
The United States government has published numerous reports and other documents on hemp dating back to the beginnings of our country. Below is a list of some of the documents that have been discovered:
* 1797: SECRETARY OF WAR: U.S.S. CONSTITUTION'S HEMP
* 1810: JOHN QUINCY ADAMS - RUSSIAN HEMP CULTIVATION
* 1827: U.S. NAVY COMMISSIONER - WATER-ROTTED HEMP
* 1873: HEMP CULTURE IN JAPAN
* 1895: USDA - HEMP SEED
* 1899: USDA SECRETARY - HEMP
* 1901: USDA LYSTER DEWEY RE; HEMP & FLAX SEED
* 1901: USDA LYSTER DEWEY 13 PAGE ARTICLE ON HEMP
* 1903: USDA LYSTER DEWEY RE; PRINCIPAL COMMERCIAL PLANT FIBERS
* 1943: USDA - HEMP FOR VICTORY - DOCUMENTARY FILM
* 1947: USDA - HEMP DAY LENGTH & FLOWERING
* 1956: USDA - MONOECIOUS HEMP BREEDING IN THE U.S.
These documentes and many more are published online by USA hemp historian extraordinaire, John E. Dvorak. His Digital Hemp History Library is the most complete source for historical hemp documents and data anwhere. To visit the Library click here.