The Cannabis Plant in the New World

Marijuana has been around for thousands of years. It is only recently that we have tried to make it illegal. For most of human history it has been a source of fiber for textiles, a medicine for many aches and pains, and of course a recreational intoxicant to be enjoyed responsibly. Since Thanksgiving is almost here I thought we could take a quick look at the history of marijuana in the U.S.

university-of-kentucky-hemp-crop There is no evidence that the Colonist brought marijuana with them. Most likely it was introduced from the Native Americans in the New England area who in turn brought it up from Brazil in the late 1500’s. In 1613 “hempe” was observed growing on the banks of the upper Potomac River. In 1619 Virginia, at that time still a Colony of England, passed a law requiring farmers to grow hemp or face penalties. In 1645 it is documented that the Puritans were growing marijuana.

George Washing was growing hemp in 1765. He noted in one of his diaries that he grew as much as 27 bushels in one year. He also notes that he separated the males from the females which many argue is evidence that he was growing marijuana for medicinal and recreational purposes.

The production of hemp and marijuana continued through out the history of the United States until the 1930’s. At that time the Marijuana Tax of 1937 was passed which essentially eliminated hemp and marijuana production in the U.S.

These days Hemp is being produced in the U.S. in very small quantities. In a time when we all agree that farmers are struggling to get by, we are ignoring the possibilities of the cannabis
plant. It could be a game changer for farmers for its many uses.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s