Tuesday was election day here in the United States (in case you missed that…) and here in California, Prop 19 and its effect on the state's economy has grabbed lots of attention. California voters have already passed a law allowing the use of marijuana for medical purposes and Prop 19 was going a step further in legalizing marijuana for recreational use (only in California, right!).
Although it was not passed, it brought a lot of heated debate about the hemp industry also. There is much confusionIndustrial Hemp between hemp and marijuana because both are cannabis plants, but hemp contains 0% Tetrahyrocannibinol (THC), the active ingredient in marijuana that makes it a drug. The laws in the United States prohibits hemp being grown legally. It is however, legal to manufacture and consume hemp here. Almost all hemp products sold here in the United States are grown in Canada because it is grown legally there (thank you Canada).
So why was it illegal to grow hemp here in the United States? It was only in the 1930′s when hemp (cannabis) became illegal. Before that it was widely used. In fact, fourth USA President Thomas Jefferson was a hemp farmer. Did you also know that it was not just any string that connected Ben Franklin to the kite of his famous experiment? It was, in fact, a hemp string.
In 1937 William Randolph Hearst and the DuPont company were instrumental in passing the Marijuana Tax Act (making the possession or sale of cannabis illegal in the USA). Hearst wanted to see the hemp industry fail because he had a significant financial interest in the timber industry, which manufactured his newsprint and magazine empire, the Hearst Co. DuPont was in the textile industry, making synthetic material, such as nylon. DuPont knew that the prominent use of hemp would greatly impact the sales of their textiles. Greed was the main reason for the Marijuana
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