Worldwide Industrial Hemp is alive and well. Australia, Europe and China all have healthy and growing hemp industries. Canada has experienced some farming adjustments but the market for hemp products is increasing steadily.
What makes some of these facts interesting is how prevalent industrial hemp was in the US in not so distant past.
Here is the fact for the day:
- Refusing to grow hemp in America during the 17th and 18th centuries was against the law! You could be jailed in Virginia for refusing to grow hemp from 1763 to 1769 (G. M. Herdon. Hemp in Colonial Virginia).
- It was legal to pay taxes with hemp in America from 1631 until the early 1800s. (LA Times. Aug. 12, 1981.)
- The first crop grown in many states was hemp. 1850 was a peak year for Kentucky producing 40,000 tons. Hemp was the largest cash crop until the 20th century. (State Archives.)
Hemp and Paper Production
- The USDA reported in 1916 that an acre of hemp produced as much paper as four acres of trees annually, yet 70% of American forests have been destroyed since 1916.
- Paper made from hemp lasts hundreds of years longer than wood-pulp paper, which decomposes and yellows with age. Hemp paper resists decomposition and does not yellow with age.
The Library of Congress found that, “While the hemp paper in volumes 300-400 years old is still strong, 97% of the books, printed between 1900 and 1937 on tree paper, will be useable for less than 50 years.” Hemp paper can be recycled 7 to 8 times, compared with only 3 times for wood pulp paper.