Hemp has been in cultivation for 10,000 years, most notably for clothing, paper, ropes and sails. 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. Up to 90% of the worlds' paper manufactured before 1883 was made from hemp, and some of the most historically important documents were written on hemp paper, including the Gutenberg and King James Bibles, as well as the first two drafts of the US Declaration of Independence.


Americans were legally bound to grow industrial hemp during the Colonial Era and Early Republic. In the mid- 1930’s, there was the invention of nylon and the spread of plastics, and a general trend away from all things natural. At the same time, use of marijuana as a recreational drug increased and industrial uses for hemp were mistakenly included in the 1938 United States ban on cultivation of any plant in the Cannabis family. This view spread globally with political pressure from the U.S.