The Hemp Industries Association (HIA) and Vote Hemp launched the 8th Annual Hemp History Week today, which will run between June 5-11. This year’s theme is Breaking Ground, and focuses on advances in research and progress of hemp in federal legislation.
Hemp is as American as apple pie, and our nation’s history is rich with examples of hemp. The English defeated the ruthless Spanish Armada in 1588 thanks to sails and rope made from 10,000 open acres of cultivated hemp. The Virginia Assembly in 1632 commanded “that every planter as soone as he may, provide seede of flaxe and hempe and sowe the same.” The list of examples goes on and on, with evidence of at least the first three presidents of the United States, George Washington, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson having cultivated and praised the plant.
This week, an estimated 1,500 grassroots events and sales across the country will take place (you can find a Hemp History Week event near you here). Events hosted by organization such as the Rodale Institute and Hemp History Week will present a variety of hemp-related seminars and workshops. The Rodale Institute is one of 16 research organizations granted a permit to conduct research under the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture’s Industrial Hemp Research Pilot Program, which operates in accordance with the Farm Bill Sec. 7606.
Many are not aware that hemp causes no intoxication. “Hemp is commonly mistaken for its notorious cousin, marijuana,” said Ashley Clayton, event organizer and hemp advocate. “But industrial hemp contains no psychoactive properties, no THC. If you tried to smoke hemp, you would only get a headache, not high.” Clayton is hosting her own local event in Tennessee to educate others about hemp history.
Under 2014’s Farm Bill, 33 states have legalized industrial hemp: Alabama, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia and Wyoming. Efforts to loosen hemp laws continue to be made by the HIA to block the DEA’s control of hemp products.