what is it?

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Industrial hemp used for manufacturing applications is highly valued for its natural durability, rapid growth and environmental sustainability. Almost everything that you can make with cotton, soy, flax or corn can be made with industrial hemp, but with significantly less impact on the Earth. Industrial hemp will play the leading role in monumental transformation of numerous industries such as farming, textiles, construction, paper and bio-plastics, all of which will thrive and grow while simultaneously solving some of the world’s biggest challenges, including pollution and the depletion of precious natural resources.

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history

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.

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why now?

The 2014 Farm Bill legitimized industrial hemp for cultivators registered under a state’s hemp research pilot program. After an 82 year ban, the United States Hemp Farming Act of 2018 was incorporated in the 2018 U.S. Farm Bill that was signed in to law by President Trump on December 20, 2018.  The Bill legalized industrial hemp as an ordinary agricultural commodity, like cotton, allowing it to be grown in all 50 states. 

 

For decades, governments around the world have realized that this valuable crop is not a threat and have encouraged widespread planting of industrial hemp. China leads the globe in hemp textiles and Europe is pioneering industrial hemp applications. The industry is quickly evolving on a global level and the U.S. needs to catch up.