Industrial hemp was recognized for its various potential uses long ago.
Prior to 1937, industrial hemp was legal and frequently used for clothing,
paper, rope, and lamp oil. It is believed George Washington and Thomas
Jefferson owned hemp fields, and that Jefferson may have even drafted
early versions of the Declaration of Independence on paper made from hemp.
Industrial hemp could have been a truly industrialized commodity by as
early as 1940, but in a misguided effort to abolish the use of marijuana
as a drug, Congress passed the Marihuana Tax Act of 1937, which in effect
lumped industrial hemp into the same category as marijuana plants, even
though the two are different plants within the same species – Cannabis sativa L.
Industrial hemp plants can be used to produce thousands of products, including:
textiles, paper, paints, clothing, plastics, cosmetics, foodstuffs, insulation,
animal feed, fiberglass, replacement for wood products, bio-fuel, detergents,
and hemp derived CBD products for health and beauty. The potential uses
for hemp are continuing to grow, and the use of the plant as an agricultural
commodity is seeing a revival.
Even though hemp does not have high enough levels of THC to produce a narcotic
effect, hemp plants are legally treated the same as marijuana plants,
but congressional efforts have been proposed to rectify the fallacy. The
U.S. Senate version of the 2018 Farm Bill, which passed on June 13, 2018,
would remove hemp, hemp’s derivatives, extract, and cannabinoids
derived from hemp, from the Controlled Substances Act. Under the new Farm
Bill, hemp would be treated as an agricultural commodity on the federal level.
The House and the Senate have passed versions of the Farm Bill, but the
House version did not even address hemp. The 2014 Farm Bill is set to
expire September 30, 2018 and the House and Senate are required to reconcile
the conflicting versions of the Bill.
Over thirty nations throughout the world have active industrial hemp markets,
and forty states in the U.S. have removed barriers to the production of
hemp. Although the majority of the states have developed laws in favor
of industrial hemp’s legalization, because of federal law as it
currently stands, there is a common misconception about what products
can be shipped across state lines. Our Firm stays on top of this developing
area of law.
As for nation-wide legalization of hemp, the odds appear to be in hemp’s
favor, potentially as soon as this September.
Hemp v. Marijuana
|Cannabis sativa L. plant
||Cannabis sativa L. plant
|Grown from pedigree seed
||Grown from asexually reproduced clones
|Tall and skinny appearance
||Shorter and fuller appearance
|Typically machine harvested and manufactured
||Typically hand-harvested, dried, trimmed, and cured
|Low THC, High CBD
||High THC, Low CBD
|Grown for fibrous stalk
||Grown for flower
|Plants grown close together
||Plants grown spaced apart