Hemp Week, which is more commonly known as Hemp History Week, is the largest educational movement that annually renews strong, national support for hemp farming in the U.S. For more than a decade, the campaign has helped raise awareness about the different agricultural opportunities, its renewal resources, and the new technological systems of industrial hemp.
Each year in June, hemp advocates and organizers like our co-founders of Anavii Market, as well grassroots supporters and hemp retail stores, come together to celebrate hemp and its profound journey after more than 80 years of prohibition. In the following article, we will discuss the history of hemp, hemp history week’s new name and message, and the future of innovative farming techniques within the hemp industry.
A Closer Look at the History of Hemp
Hemp, or industrial hemp, is a non-psychoactive plant species that has the ability to support humankind in almost every way. Derived from the Cannabis sativa plant, the first traces of hemp date back to nearly 10,000 years ago.
In honor of Hemp Week, we've mapped out a timeline below that highlights the use of hemp in cultures all throughout the world.
Hemp Over the Last 10,000 Years:
Hemp is used in Asia, specifically found in modern-day China and Taiwan. Later found in Africa, Europe, and South America for food and pottery.
In India, hemp is referred to as a gift and a “sacred grass” in ancient religious Hindu documents. Hemp is also considered one of the five sacred plants of India.
The use of hemp expanded to Greece, Russia, and other parts of Europe, including Germany, as a resource for seeds and rope.
Hemp becomes one of the main tools to make paper in China.
Hemp arrives to North America and is used as a key ingredient to make shoes, clothes, paper, and other textiles.
American farmers become required by law to grow hemp, per the request of many of the nation's founding fathers. Historians even suggest that Thomas Jefferson drafted the Declaration of Independence on hemp paper.
Hemp is grouped into the same category as high THC cannabis (marijuana) and became taxed under the Marijuana Tax Act of 1937.
Hemp remains grouped with high THC cannabis and becomes criminalized under the Controlled Substances Act of 1970 as a Schedule I Narcotic.
Hemp Industries Association go to court with DEA to permanently protect the sales of food and personal care products made from hemp.
Two hemp-farming licenses are granted for the first time in 50 years.
The US Department of State grants our co-founder a US Fulbright Scholarship to study hemp in Canada, while still federally prohibitive to grow in the US.
The 2014 Farm Bill is passed to allow research institutions to start fielding hemp farming initiatives. The Farm Bill legally separates hemp from high THC cannabis, allowing the cultivation of industrial hemp to begin.
In collaboration with Space Tango, we helped launch the first hemp seeds to space to study the effects microgravity has on hemp genetics. Click here for more information about sending our hemp seeds to space.
Today, hemp has evolved into one of the fastest growing industries and is used to make a variety of commercial products, such as clothing, food, paper, textiles, biodegradable plastics, and so much more
Why use up the forests which were centuries in the making and the mines which required ages to lay down, if we can get the equivalent of forest and mineral products in the annual growth of the hemp fields?"
— Henry Ford
Hemp History Week vs. Hemp Week
Hemp History Week was originally founded back in 2010 by the Hemp Industries Association (HIA) and Vote Hemp, a DC-based non-profit group working to return hemp farming back to the U.S.
Hemp History Week has brought together grassroots organizers, farmers, producers, and hemp activists over the last decade to help change federal regulations.
This year we celebrate our 11th annual campaign under a new name: Hemp Week. All walks of life are encouraged to come and celebrate this week with us as we shift our focus from the history of the hemp industry to the future of farming and the incorporation of hemp-based products in everyday life.
What is the Future of Hemp Farming?
Currently the market is focused on the growth of cannabinoids, primarily one cannabinoid called CBD or cannabidiol, causing a surplus in raw material. This means growing bushy plants for the flower as opposed to tall and lean fibrous crops. But as more innovations occur in the hemp industries, farming will shift towards growing for the hemp grain and hemp fiber, balancing the cannabinoid supply.
The grain is already used in hemp foods for its highly nutritious protein and omega source, but there is still a need to expand markets as an ingredient and additive.
Hemp grain can also be used to make industrial oils and animal feeds.
Hemp fiber markets are also growing in demand for plastic markets, building materials and textiles. There is so much innovation to be done in the hemp fiber market, we can’t wait to see what unfolds!
Stay Educated About Hemp Week
In conclusion, Hemp Week will be celebrated all week from June 6 – June 12, 2020. We’ll be posting more information this week, highlighting different points in the hemp industry timeline.