The Forbidden Plant: Unveiling the Mystery Behind Hemp's Prohibition

For centuries, hemp has been cultivated in North America for its fibers used in the manufacture of rope and textiles. But why was this versatile plant suddenly forbidden in the United States? It turns out, hemp is a victim of the war on drugs. In 1937, the Marijuana Tax Act was passed, making it difficult for farmers to produce hemp. This law is seen as the principle of hemp's prohibition, as reported by PBS.

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has granted several dozen permits to grow hemp in nine states, including Kentucky. But why was hemp banned in the first place? There is speculation that it was because of its resemblance to marijuana, but based on their chemical differences, it's clear that the two are not the same thing. According to Purdue University, hemp was classified as a Schedule 1 controlled substance by the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) because it is a derivative of cannabis, and was grouped with illicit drugs such as heroin and ecstasy. Hemp isn't marijuana, but its resemblance to cannabis has kept it banned in the United States for decades.

Hemp has virtually no trace of THC, while marijuana has around 10 percent; some varieties of marijuana can have up to 27 percent THC. This means that people can enjoy the health benefits of cannabis without experiencing its effects. Hemp has a variety of uses for textiles, food, cosmetics and other purposes. It has been used as an industrial lubricant since its oil penetrates better than linseed oil.

During the centuries before 1850 approximately, all ships sailing in the western seas were equipped with hemp ropes and sails. It is believed that William DuPont was also threatened by hemp. He was dedicated to creating chemicals that allowed the production of paper from wood. Two weeks ago, the North Carolina House of Representatives and Senate passed a bill that would legalize industrial hemp production in the state. Charles T. Ambrose, from the University of Kentucky School of Medicine and author of “The University of Transylvania and its Connection to Hemp” told PBS NewsHour. The former “Cheers” star and current Senate majority leader and Kentucky state senator have embarked on separate but parallel crusades to make hemp legal in the United States again. The rule reemphasizes a previous USDA ruling that interstate transportation is legal, even if the shipment goes through a state that does allow hemp cultivation. Hemp has been used for centuries for its fibers used in rope and textiles production, as well as for food, cosmetics and other purposes.

Its prohibition in 1937 was due to its resemblance to marijuana and its classification as a Schedule 1 controlled substance by the CSA. Despite this ban, several states have legalized industrial hemp production and interstate transportation is allowed even if it goes through a state that does allow hemp cultivation.

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