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Until the 1880's

Schoolbooks Made from Hemp

Up until the 1880’s, all schoolbooks were made from hemp or flax paper. (Jack Frazier, Hemp Paper Reconsidered, 1974)

From 1631 until the early 1800’s

Legal to Pay Taxes with Hemp

From 1631 until the early 1800’s, it was legal to pay taxes with hemp in America. (LA Times. Aug. 12, 1981)

17th and 18th centuries

Not Growing Hemp Against the Law

In the 17th and 18th centuries, refusing to grow hemp in America was against the law! In Virginia, you could be jailed for refusing to grow hemp from 1763 to 1769. (G. M. Herdon. Hemp in Colonial Virginia)

Founding Fathers Grew Hemp

George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and other founding fathers grew hemp. (Washington and Jefferson Diaries. Jefferson smuggled hemp seeds from China to France then to America)


Benjamin Franklin

Benjamin Franklin owned one of the first paper mills in America, and it processed hemp. Also, the War of 1812 was fought over hemp. Napoleon wanted to cut off Moscow’s export to England. (Jack Herer, Emperor Wears No Clothes)

Ships and Sails

90% of all ships and sails were made from hemp…for thousands of years! The word ‘canvas’ comes from the Middle English word “canevas” which comes from the Latin word cannabis. (Webster’s New World Dictionary)

Until the 1820’s

Hemp for Clothes and More

Until the 1820’s, 80% of all textiles, fabrics, clothes, linen, drapes, bed sheets, etc., were made from hemp, with the intro of the cotton gin.


Declaration of Independence

The Declaration of Independence, the first Bible’s, maps, charts and the Constitution were made from hemp. (U.S. Government Archives)

First Crop Grown in US

Hemp was the first crop grown in many states.  1850 was a peak year for the State of Kentucky producing more than 40K tons. Hemp was the largest cash crop until the 20th Century. (State Archives)

Hemp Farming 5,000 Years

Oldest known records of hemp farming go back 5000 years in China, although hemp industrialization probably goes back to ancient Egypt.


Paper from Hemp

In 1916, the U.S. Government predicted that by the 1940s all paper would come from hemp and that no more trees need to be cut down. Government studies report that 1 acre of hemp equals 4.1 acres of trees. Plans were in the works to implement such programs. (U.S. Department of Agriculture Archives.)

Model-T Built to Run on Hemp Gas

Henry Ford’s first Model-T was built to run on hemp gasoline and the car itself was constructed from hemp! On his large estate, Ford was photographed among his hemp fields. The car, ‘grown from the soil,’ had hemp plastic panels whose impact strength was 10 times stronger than steel. (Popular Mechanics, 1941)

Until 1937

Paint from Hemp

Hemp seed oil helped make quality paints and varnishes until 1937.  58,000 tons of hemp seeds were used in America for paint products in 1935. (Sherman Williams Paint Co. testimony before the U.S. Congress against the 1937 Marijuana Tax Act)


Reefer Madness

In 1936, the American propaganda film Reefer Madness was made to scare American youth away from using Cannabis.


Marijuana Tax Act

In 1937, U.S. Congress passed the Marijuana Tax Act which criminalized the drug. In response Dr. William C. Woodward, testifying on behalf of the AMA, told Congress that, “The American Medical Association knows of no evidence that marijuana is a dangerous drug” and warned that a prohibition “loses sight of the fact that future investigation may show that there are substantial medical uses for Cannabis.” His comments were ignored by Congress. A part of the testimony for Congress to pass the 1937 act derived from articles in newspapers owned by William Randolph Hearst, who had significant financial interests in the timber industry, which manufactured his newsprint paper.


Billion Dollar Crop

In 1938, hemp was called ‘Billion Dollar Crop.’ It was the first time a cash crop had a business potential to exceed a billion dollars. (Popular Mechanics, Feb. 1938)


Marijuana Helps Glaucoma Patients

In 1971, first evidence suggesting marijuana may help glaucoma patients.


IND Compassionate Use Research

In 1976, the U.S. federal government created the Investigational New Drug (IND) Compassionate Use research program to allow patients to receive up to nine pounds of cannabis from the government each year. Today, five surviving patients still receive medical cannabis from the federal government, paid for by federal tax dollars. At the same time the U.S. FDA continues to list marijuana as Schedule I meaning: “A high potential for abuse with no accepted medical value.”


Plea to Reclassify Marijuana

In 1988, U.S. DEA administrative law Judge Francis Young finds, after thorough hearings, that marijuana has a clearly established medical use and should be reclassified as a prescriptive drug. His recommendation is ignored.


Legalize Medical Marijuana

In 1996, California (the first U.S. state to ban marijuana use, see 1915) became the first U.S. State to then re-legalize medical marijuana use for people suffering from AIDS, cancer, and other serious illnesses. A similar bill was passed in Arizona the same year. This was followed by the passage of similar initiatives in Alaska, Colorado, Maine, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, Washington D.C., Hawaii, Maryland, New Mexico, Rhode Island, and Vermont.


IOM Conclude Cannabis Safe and Effective

In 1997, the American Office of National Drug Control Policy commissioned the Institute of Medicine (IOM) to conduct a comprehensive study of the medical efficacy of cannabis therapeutics. The IOM concluded that cannabis is a safe and effective medicine, patients should have access, and the government should expand avenues for research and drug development. The federal government completely ignored its findings and refused to act on its recommendations.


Steps Against Failed War on Drugs

In 2009, President Obama made steps toward ending the very unsuccessful 20-year “war on drugs” initiated during the Regan administration by stating that individual drug use is really a public health issue, and should be treated as such. Under his guidance, the U.S. Justice Department announced that federal prosecutors will no longer pursue medical marijuana users and distributors who comply with state laws.

November 2012

CO and WA Legalize Recreational Marijuana

In November 2012, the States of Colorado and Washington legalize marijuana / cannabis for recreational use; promises are made to the people that these new initiatives will have no impact on medical marijuana in those states. The country of Uruguay legalizes marijuana / cannabis for recreational use. The US District of Columbia decriminalizes personal use and possession of marijuana / cannabis.

November 2014

More States Legalize Recreational Marijuana

In November 2014, the States of Alaska and Oregon legalize marijuana / cannabis for recreational use; the States of California, Nevada, Arizona, Hawaii and Massachusetts all begin to draft legalization legislation.

January 2017

Increased Support for the Legalization of Marijuana

The percentage of Americans who support the legalization of marijuana for medical treatment if prescribed by a doctor. In 2011, 74% did. Attitudes toward marijuana continue to shift, with the public becoming accepting toward marijuana use every single year.