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Hemp History

8000 B.C.

Hemp is woven into fabric and grows in popularity over time on a global scale to eventually provide over 80% of all textiles and fabrics, including over 50% of the fabric called linen.

2700 B.C.

Cannabis, as hemp fabric and cordage, medicine, and food, has been incorporated into virtually all cultures of the Middle East, Asia Minor, India, China, Japan, and Africa.

2300 B.C.

Nomadic tribes from the East migrate into the Mediterranean regions and eventually Europe, introducing hemp along the way.

1000 B.C. to 1883A.D.

Hemp is the world's largest agricultural crop, providing materials to support civilization's most important industries, including fiber for fabric and rope, lamp oil for lighting, paper, medicine and food for both humans and domesticated animals.

1000 B.C. to 1900 A.D.

Hemp Extracts are the #1, #2, and #3 most important and most frequently used medicine for two-thirds of the world's population.

500 B.C. to 1900 A.D.

Ninety percent of the sailcloth and rigging lines used for all sea-going vessels is made from hemp. ( including the U.S. ship 'Constitution', better known as 'Old Ironsides'.)

100 A.D.

Chinese discover how to make paper from hemp.


Gutenberg Bible is printed on hemp paper.


King Philip of Spain mandated the cultivation of hemp for food, fiber and medicine throughout the Spanish territory in Central and South America.


Rembrandt paints on hemp canvas.


King James Bible is printed on hemp paper.


America's first hemp law is enacted at Jamestown Colony, Virginia, ordering all farmers to grow hemp.


'Must grow' hemp laws are enacted throughout Massachusetts.

1631 to early 1800's

Hemp is 'legal tender' and taxes may be paid with hemp throughout most of the Americas.

1632 to mid `1700's

'Must grow' hemp laws enacted in Connecticut and the Chesapeake Colonies.


Gainesborough paints on hemp canvas.

1740 - 1940

Russia is the world's largest and 'best quality' producer of hemp, supplying 80% of Western hemp rope.


Benjamin Franklin starts one of America's first hemp-rag paper mills.

1763 - 1767

Farmers who do not grow hemp can be arrested and jailed in Virginia.


The patriotic populace organizes spinning bees to turn hemp fiber into clothing for General Washington's Continental Army.


First and second drafts of the Declaration of Independence are written on hemp paper.


The Stars and Stripes is endorsed as the Capitol Flag of the U.S.A. and made of hemp fabric.


George Washington and Thomas Jefferson grow hemp on their plantations.


Van Gogh paints on hemp canvas.

Australians survive two prolonged famines by using hemp seed for protein and leaves for roughage.

Hemp seed oil, long the most popular lighting oil in the world, falls to second place in popularity as whale oil becomes widely accessible.

The use of hemp extracts as a recreational stimulant spreads through Western culture and romantic writers expound on individual freedom and human dignity, extolling cannabis use. Their works include: The Count of Monte Cristo, The Three Musketeers, Alice in Wonderland, and Through the Looking Glass.


America goes to war with Great Britain over free-trade access to Russian hemp.

1837 - 1901

Queen Victoria uses cannabis resins to treat menstrual cramps, sparking enormous interest in the uses of cannabis as a medicine in the English- speaking world.


Abraham Lincoln uses hemp-seed oil to fuel his household lamps.

He also writes ( as a general statement on government function and legislation ): "Prohibition... goes beyond the bounds of reason in that it attempts to control a man's appetite by making a crime out of things that are not crimes... A prohibition law strikes a blow at the very principles upon which our government was founded."

1842 - 1890

Extracts and derivatives of the hemp plant are the second and third most prescribed medicines in the U.S.A. Eli Lilly, Parke-Davis, Squibb, Brothers Smith and other firms produce these medicines through 1930. During this time, not one death or severe side-effect is recorded as an attribute to use.


U.S. census records 8,327 hemp plantations of 2,000 acres or more and an uncalculated number of small hemp farms.


'Ganjah Wallah Hasheesh Candy Company' produces one of the most popular candies in the U.S. It is made from cannabis derivatives and maple sugar, sold over-the-counter, and in Sears-Roebuck catalogs. It retains its popularity as a totally harmless and fun candy for over forty years.


Alice in Wonderland is published on hemp paper.


The popularity of smoking female cannabis tops, to ease the back-breaking labor of working sugar cane fields and tolerate the hot sun as well as to relax recreationally with no alcohol "hang-over", begins to spread in the West Indies with the immigration of Hindus who are imported to provide cheap labor. Gradually, this popularity makes its way into the United States through St. Louis.


Hashish smoking parlors have opened in every major American city, including an estimated 500 such establishments in New York City alone.

1890's Popular American 'marriage guides' recommend cannabis extracts for heightened marital pleasures. Women's temperance groups, lobbying for alcohol prohibition, suggest cannabis as a suitable substitute for the 'demon drink'.

1901 - 1937

U.S. Department of Agriculture predicts repeatedly that with the advent of machinery capable of harvesting, stripping and separating the hemp fiber from the pulp, hemp will again be America's "Number One" crop.

1916 U.S.D.A. publishes Bulletin No. 404, "Hemp Hurds As Paper-Making Material," extolling and demonstrating the outstanding qualities of paper manufactured from hemp-pulp, a new process. The document was printed on hemp-pulp paper and explained the new technology. Previously most all paper was made with the hemp fiber content of 'rag' (worn out clothing).


To this point in time, U.S. Government papers were written, by law, on "hempen rag paper".


Henry Ford begins extensive research into the production of methanol (as a fuel) and the manufacture of plastics from renewable vegetable crops, including hemp.


116 million pounds of hemp seed are used commercially in America to manufacture paint and varnish.


February issue of Mechanical Engineering includes the feature story "The Most Profitable and Desirable Crop That Can Be Grown" which tells about the new machines being used to harvest hemp.

4 million pounds of hemp seed are sold retail as song-bird food in the U.S.A.

An estimated 10 million aces of hemp grows wild in the U.S.A., providing an important food source for hundreds of millions of birds.


The February issue of Popular Mechanics runs a story, (prepared before the 1937 legislation was enacted) titled: "New Billion Dollar Crop." It tells about the new machine for harvesting hemp which "solves a problem more than 6,000 years old." It further states that increased hemp production "will displace imports of raw material and manufactured products" and calls hemp the "standard fiber of the world." Popular Mechanics goes on to say hemp can "produce more than 25,000 products, ranging from dynamite to Cellophane." This is the first time ever in U.S. history the term 'billion-dollar' is applied to the potential for an agricultural harvest.


December issue of Popular Mechanics features a story on Henry Ford, showing a picture of the car he "grew from the soil." The automobile's "plastic panels with impact strength 10 times greater than steel were made from flax, wheat, hemp, and spruce pulp." The auto weighed 1/3 less than its 100% steel contemporaries.


U.S. government overrides its own ban on hemp and distributes 400,000 pounds of hemp seed to U.S farmers who produce 42,000 tons of hemp fiber annually to support the war effort until 1946.

U.S. farmers, including youthful 4-H Club members, are inundated by "Uncle Sam" with incentives to grow hemp. The U.S.D.A. makes it mandatory for farmers to attend showings of the "Hemp For Victory" film. Farmers and their sons who agree to grow hemp are exempt from military service, even though America is at war.


U.S.D.A. finds that hemp seed is lower in saturated fats than any other vegetable oil (including soybean and canola).

Other studies note that until this century hemp-cake (the by-product of pressing the seed for oil ) was one of the world's principle animal feeds.

It is also found that hemp seed, like soybeans, can produce a tofu-like curd and be spiced to taste like chicken, steak or pork; can be sprouted for salads, ground into meal, and also made into margarine.

Hemp seed is recommended as a nutritionally balanced food for domestic pets and farm animals.


Researchers at the Medical College of Virginia discover that cannabis is incredibly successful for reducing the size of many types of tumors, both benign and cancerous.


Garments containing hemp fiber are available to the American public for the first time in over 50 years, however, this clothing must be imported to the U.S. from China (via Hong Kong) and carries a huge protective tariff.


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The hoodie has been amazing. I've been wearing it like crazy. Actually, since I've been so happy with it, the wife tried it on, we just ordered three more last night! It's great that for a 'premium' product I have been able to get the hoodie for 21.99, considering I would pay that for the standard walmart crap that would wear out very fast. Thanks for your store, it has very unique material, and I will be keeping my eye out to see what products you add to your inventory.
Wholesale Customer
submitted Aug 2007

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