Taken from History of Hemp Rhapsody website.  To learn more visit here

Hemp harvest in Kentucky, Popular Science, 1898

Hemp was first cultivated for fiber in Kentucky near Danville in 1775, and cultivation there continued

into the 20th century even though cultivation had diminished in other states.[1]:292


A 1914 USDA report noted:
Practically all of the hemp grown in the United States is from seed produced in Kentucky.

The first hemp grown in Kentucky was of European origin, the seed having been brought to the colonies, especially Virginia, and taken from there to Kentucky.

In recent years there has been practically no importation of seed from Europe. Remnants of the European

types are occasionally found in the shorter, more densely branching stalks terminating in thick clusters of

small leaves. These plants yield more seed and mature earlier than the more desirable fiber types

introduced from China[.] Nearly all of the hemp now grown in Kentucky is of Chinese origin. Small packets

of seed are received from American missionaries in China. These seeds are carefully cultivated for two or

three generations in order to secure a sufficient quantity for field cultivation, and also to acclimate the plants

to Kentucky conditions. Attempts to produce fiber plants by sowing imported seed broadcast have not given satisfactory results. Seed of the second or third generation from China is generally regarded as most

desirable. This Kentucky hemp of Chinese origin has long internodes, long, slender branches, opposite and nearly horizontal except the upper ones, large leaves usually drooping and not crowded, with the seeds in

small clusters near the ends of the branches. Small, dark-colored seeds distinctly mottled are preferred by

the Kentucky hemp growers. Under favorable conditions Kentucky hemp attains a height of 7 to 10 feet

when grown broadcast for fiber and 9 to 14 feet when cultivated for seed.



Historical Timeline of Hemp

  • 8,000 BCE: Archaeologists found traces of hemp in modern day China and Taiwan. People used hemp for pottery, food (seed & oil) and natural hemp-based medicine.

  • 2,000 BCE – 800 BCE: Hindu sacred text Atharvaveda (Science of Charms) as “Sacred Grass”, one of the five sacred plants of India

  • 600 BCE: Hemp rope found in southern Russia

  • 500 BCE: Archaeologists found a jar of hemp seed and leaves in Berlin, Germany. Use of hemp continues to spread across northern Europe

  • 200 BCE: Hemp rope found in Greece 100 BCE: China uses hemp to make paper. Hemp rope also found in Britain.

  • 570: A French Queen was buried in hemp clothing

  • 700s BCE: First hemp paper mills appear in China and the Middle East, first people-powered then using animals or water.

  • 850: Vikings use hemp and spread it to Iceland

  • 900: Arabs adopt technology to make hemp paper 1533: King Henry VIII, king of England, fines farmers if they do not raise hemp

  • 1549: Cannabis introduced in South America (Brazil)

  • 1616: Jamestown, first permanent English settlement in the Americas, grows hemp to make ropes, sails, and clothing

  • 1700s: Early laws require American farmers in several colonies to grow hemp

  • 1776: U.S. Founders write early drafts of The Declaration of Independence on hemp paper

  • 1840: Abraham Lincoln uses hemp seed oil to fuel his household lamps.

Modern Timeline of Hemp

  • 1916: USDA publishes findings showing hemp produces 4X more paper per acre than trees

  • 1937: The Marijuana Tax Act placed a tax on all cannabis sales (including hemp), heavily discouraging production of hemp

  • 1938: Popular Mechanics writes an article about how hemp could be used in 25,000 different products.

  • 1942: Henry Ford builds an experimental car body made with hemp fiber, which is ten times stronger than steel

  • 1942: USDA initiates the “Hemp for Victory” program – this leads to more than 150,000 acres of hemp production

  • 1957: Farmers plant the last commercial hemp fields in the U.S. in Wisconsin

  • 1970: The Controlled Substances Act classified hemp as an illegal Schedule I drug. Strict regulations imposed on the cultivation of industrial hemp as well as marijuana

  • 1998: The U.S. begins to import food-grade hemp seed and oil.

  • 2004: Ninth Circuit Court decision in Hemp Industries Association vs. DEA permanently protects sales of hemp foods and body care products in the U.S.

  • 2007: The first hemp licenses in over 50 years granted to two North Dakota farmers.

  • 2014: President Obama signed the Farm Bill, which allowed research institutions to start piloting hemp farming.

  • 2015: The Industrial Hemp Farming Act (H.R. 525 and S. 134) introduced in the House and Senate. This act is the first of several attempts to fully legalize hemp.

  • 2016: A Colorado farm has earned the Organic certification from USDA for its hemp

  • 2018: After failed attempts to pass hemp-specific laws, an amendment to the Agricultural Improvement of

  • 2018 (a.k.a. the “Farm Bill”) legalized hemp in the U.S. Pres. Trump signs the bill into law on Dec 20, 2018. This amendment removed the hemp plant, along with any of its seeds and derivatives from the Controlled Substances Act. A huge win for the hemp industry!