For centuries, hemp was a major part of North American life. It was used to make ropes, textiles, and other materials. But in the early 20th century, attitudes towards hemp began to change. The Marijuana Tax Act of 1937 caused the hemp industry to decline significantly, as all hemp sales were subject to high taxes.
This policy was seen by some as an attempt to reduce the size of the hemp industry and help emerging plastic and nylon industries gain market share. Hemp had been banned in the United States because it is made from one of the same plant species (Cannabis sativa) as marijuana. But when the Japanese invaded the Philippines in 1942, cutting off the supply of imported hemp, both the United States and Canada had no choice but to temporarily lift the restrictions. Farmers in both countries were allowed to grow hemp with special permits, but only for the purpose of helping the war effort. Hemp was an important part of early American history.
Farmers grew it for use in paper, lamp fuel, and cords. But before 1936, when Reefer Madness was released, American culture was unaware of marijuana. Now, Americans are finally learning the difference between hemp and marijuana, and they are using hemp for a variety of products such as tinctures, topical products, gummies, and even chewables for dogs. Hemp has a long history in North America, but its use has been greatly reduced due to its association with marijuana. Despite this setback, hemp is making a comeback as Americans become more aware of its many uses.
With more research into its potential benefits and applications, hemp may once again become an important part of American life.