Hemp Timeline


American farmers are required by law to grow hemp in Virginia and other colonies.

1776 The Declaration of Independence is drafted on hemp paper. 1797 The U.S.S. Constitution is outfitted with 60 tons of hemp sails and rigging. 1790s George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and John Adams, our founding fathers, grow hemp and extol its benefits. 1840 Abraham Lincoln uses hemp seed oil to fuel his household lamps. 1890- 1940s USDA Chief Botanist, Lyster Dewey, grows five varieties of hemp at Arlington Farms in Virginia, the current site of the Pentagon. 1916 USDA Bulletin No. 404 shows that hemp produces four times more paper per acre than do trees. 1938 Popular Mechanics article “New Billion Dollar Crop” explains that new developments in processing technology could use hemp to manufacture over 25,000 different products, “from cellophane to dynamite.” 1942 Henry Ford builds an experimental car body made with hemp fiber, which is ten times stronger than steel. 1942- 1946 American farmers from Kentucky to Maine to Wisconsin harvest over 150,000 acres of hemp through the USDA’s Hemp for Victory program. 1957 Hemp is last grown in the U.S. due to government confusion over hemp and drug varieties of the plant, while new government incentives for industry replace natural fibers with plastics, ultimately bankrupting key hemp processors. 1998 The U.S. begins to import food-grade hemp seed and oil. 2000- 2010 New processing technologies arise to commercialize “cottonized” hemp, hemp concrete, high-tech hemp composites and other novel hemp applications. 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. 2005 A bill is introduced in the U.S. Congress for the first time to allow states to regulate hemp farming, but to date no committee hearing or floor vote has taken place. 2007 The first hemp licenses in over 50 years are granted to two North Dakota farmers. 2010 HIA uncovers diaries and photographs of the USDA’s Chief Botanist Lyster Dewey, who grew 5 varieties of hemp on the current site of the Pentagon. 2010 Rep. Ron Paul makes Congressional statement in support of Hemp History Week. 2010 1st Annual Hemp History Week produces 200 events in 32 states exposing 100,000 people to hemp and the cause. 2011 Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) introduces H.R. 1831, The Industrial Hemp Farming Act, in the House of Representatives. 2012 Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) introduces S. 3501, the Senate companion bill to H.R. 1831. 2014 President Obama signs the Farm Bill legalizing the production of Hemp for research purposes