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"How Did Hemp Become Illegal ?"

While industrial hemp and hemp-derived CBD oil is legal in the United States today, it wasn’t always that way. At the beginning of the 20th century (the 1920s and 1930s to be exact, hemp began a slow (and never quite complete) spiral into illegality as a result of its relationship and resemblance to marijuana, which was outlawed across the world during the same time period. Over the years, hemp has made comebacks, such as during World War II, and following the recent 2014 Farm Bill. Let’s take a quick look at why natural, safe, strong, medicinal, nutritious, and legal hemp was originally made illegal and why it has come back to America’s farms, fields, menus, and people in the past few years.

What is Hemp?

Good question – I’m so glad you asked! Many people assume they know what hemp is, but the true definition of hemp has changed over the years. Knowing this definition is the key to understanding the medicinal legality of the beautiful plant. Here’s a quick rundown of hemp’s status in the United States.

  • Prior to 2014, hemp was defined as the stalks and nonviable seeds only of the cannabis plant (or the non-marihuana parts of the plant); all other parts (viable seeds, resin, leaves, and flowers) were considered marihuana.
  • With former President Barack Obama’s signing of the 2014 Farm Bill and the introduction of industrial hemp, a new definition was created: hemp is now any part of the cannabis sativa-L plant with less than .3% THC.

With the relegalization of industrial hemp, there are some rules you should be aware of if you’re thinking about farming it or using it for health reasons:

  • Industrial hemp can only be grown in a state where it is legal (individual states vote on this)
  • Industrial hemp must be grown for research purposes
  • Hemp products be shipped and legally consumed in 48 states per the U.S. Appropriations Act of 2016 sec 763 ( Althought the DEA and FDA are trying to ban this )

Why Was Hemp Made Illegal?

The answer to this question is, quite simply, fear. In the early 1900s, the United States underwent an influx of immigrants from Mexico, Texas, Louisiana, and the West Indies. This was a result of the Mexican Revolution which ended Porfirio Díaz’ 30-year dictatorship in 1911. The war didn’t end until 1920, and Mexican people left their country to escape the violence and find new lives in the U.S. Marihuana was associated with Mexican and West Indies immigrants coming into the country, and became a focus of a predominantly white society with power that feared the immigrants and their way of life. “Marihuana,” as I’m sure you know, is a Spanish word for the cannabis sativa L. plant, which was completely legal until the 1920s and 30s when society took hold of “reefer madness” and began outlawing marijuana all over the world. Here’s a quick timeline of hemp and marijuana.

  • 1619: Virginia Assembly requires every farmer to grow hemp (it was used for ship sails and caulking). Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Maryland allow hemp as legal tender to stimulate production and relieve Colonial money shortages
  • 1850-1900 Marijuana/hemp is a staple crop and a popular and legal ingredient in patent medicines, and can be bought at pharmacies for migraines, rheumatism, and insomnia
  • 1910-1920 Reefer madness begins as a result of cultural differences and little understanding of marihuana consumption and effects between Mexican immigrants and white U.S. society
  • Sailors and West Indian immigrants smoke marijuana in port cities on the Gulf of México
  • “The Marijuana Menace” is associated with various non-white cultures and peoples in the U.S., including African American jazz musicians
  • 1914 El Paso, Texas, bans sale and possession of marijuana
  • 1931 29 states outlaw marijuana, and lump hemp in with it
  • 1937 Marijuana Tax Actcriminalizes possessionpropaganda spread by Henry J. Anslinger of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics. Other countries, do the same, including México
  • 1940s the Hemp for Victory campaign encourages farmers to grow 150,000+ acres of hemp
  • 1952 Boggs Act makes marijuana possession equal to heroin possession in the eyes of the law
  • 1956 Narcotics Control Act
  • 1970 Controlled Substances Act classifies hemp as marijuana, and hemp is finally made illegal
  • 1996 medical marijuana is legalized in California
  • 2014 recreational marijuana is legalized in Colorado
  • 2014 former president Barack Obama signs the 2014 Farm Bill, making industrial hemp cultivation legal

Why Purchase Green Lotus Hemp’s Hemp CBD Oil?

Typical wild-grown hemp (known as feral hemp) usually has a CBD concentration of about 1-2%, and oil from feral hemp is around 10% CBD. The resin cultivar plants grown legally by GLH’s contract farmers contain upwards of 20% CBD, rendering an oil that is anywhere between 60% and 80% and making them more effective for treating medical symptoms and as nutritional supplements. GLH’s hemp CBD oil is created using a groundbreaking and safe CO2 extraction process that does not use harsh chemicals, and leaves no residue in the final oil.

What Does the 2014 Farm Bill Say About Industrial Hemp and Hemp-derived Products?

Current federal legislation notes that any hemp product that contains less than .3% THC is legal, and Green Lotus Hemp carefully regulates their hemp oils and resin cultivars to make sure they never go above the established .3% level. Hemp has been used throughout history to make products like paper, boat and ship sails, clothing, sandals, and other textiles and materials. Thanks to former president Barack Obama’s 2014 Farm Bill, industrial hemp production is experiencing a renaissance in the United States, and the production of hemp CBD oil has become a large part of the preclinical medical trial community. Farmers across the country are now growing legal hemp, which is kinder to the environment and may unlock future medical treatments in the coming years.

Julie K Godard

About Julie Godard:

Julie, a guest blogger of Green Lotus Hemp Products, is a strong advocate of cannabis, both in medical and recreational forms, for expanding our knowledge of medicine, culture, and the reality of our planet. She is an experienced freelance writer, content strategist, and cannabis industry researcher with a deep concern for social welfare and love of scientific discovery.


 Note: These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. All of GLH products are sold as nutritional supplements, and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

With all of that in mind,

what do you think about this next poll ?

Care to cast your vote ?

Evil or Medicinal ?

marijuana large 300

Should Marijuana Be Legalized ?

About Green Lotus Hemp

Green Lotus Hemp
600 17th Street Suite 2800
Denver, CO 80202
Phone: 888-811-HEMP (4367)
(Not a Retail Store)