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Ten enlightening facts about hemp

The illegality of hemp/cannabis/marijuana was mainly due to misinformation and misrepresentation spread by government agents during the era of alcohol prohibition, basically recycling the pretext that it turned ordinary people into uninhibited monsters with super powers. Even then the scientific and medical evidence showed that marijuana was essentially harmless, but facts cannot get in the way of government agents and politicians desirous of increasing their power.1

The following is a list of facts about hemp/cannabis/marijuana when not used for bodily ingestion:

  1. Eighty percent of all textiles, fabrics, clothes, linen, drapes, bed sheets, etc. were made from hemp until the 1820s, with the introduction of the cotton gin. All schoolbooks were made from hemp or flax paper until the 1880s.
  2. Benjamin Franklin owned one of the first paper mills in America, and it processed hemp. Also, the War of 1812 was fought over hemp. Napoleon wanted to cut off Moscow's export to England.
  3. Henry Ford's first Model-T was built to run on hemp oil and the car itself was constructed from hemp! On his large estate, Ford was photographed among his hemp fields. The car, 'grown from the soil,' had hemp plastic panels whose impact strength was ten times stronger than steel.2
  4. Refusing to grow hemp in America during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries was against the law! You could be jailed in Virginia for refusing to grow hemp from 1763 to 1769. You could even pay taxes with hemp in America from 1631 until the early 1800s!3
  5. Quality paints and varnishes were made from hemp seed oil until 1937. 58,000 tons of hemp seeds were used in America for paint products in 1935.4
  6. For thousands of years, ninety percent of all ships' sails and rope were made from hemp. The word 'canvas' comes from the Middle English word 'canevas' which comes from the Latin word cannabis.5
  7. In 1938, hemp was called 'Billion Dollar Crop.' It was the first time a cash crop had a business potential to exceed one billion dollars.6
  8. 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 twentieth century.
  9. In 1916, the US Government predicted that by the 1940s all paper would come from hemp and that no more trees would need to be cut down. Government studies report that one acre of hemp equals just over four acres of trees.7
  10. Oldest known records of hemp farming go back five thousand years in China, although hemp industrialisation provably goes back to ancient Egypt.


  1. A Drug War Carol
  2. Popular Mechanics, 1941
  3. Los Angeles Times, 12 August 1981
  4. Sherman Williams Paint Company, testimony before the US Congress against the 1937 Marijuana Tax Act
  5. Webster's New World Dictionary
  6. Popular Mechanics, February 1938
  7. US Department of Agriculture Archives

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