The Cultural Amnesia of Hemp


mmj1Civilizations in Europe and Asia began harvesting hemp in 8,000 BCE to make textiles, paper, food, and medicine. In 3727 BCE, cannabis was called a superior herb in the world’s first medical text, the Shen Nung’s Pen Ts’ao, in China. In 1500 BCE, Cannabis helped to invent the scythe. In 300 BCE, social situations arose where Carthage and Rome struggled much over the political and commercial power over hemp & spice trade routes in the Mediterranean. In 100 BCE, paper was made from hemp and mulberry in China.

In 1621 A.D., an early medicinal encyclopedia written in the United States, the Anatomy of Melancholy, recommended that hemp could be used to treat depression. Over 100 years later, The New English Dispensatory written by Robert James suggested that hemp roots could be applied to the skin to alleviate inflammation.

Even though there is this rich history of hemp common knowledge amongst the public is dismal. What factors contributed to the cultural amnesia of hemp?

Background: U.S.

Cultivation of hemp began in Virginia in 1611. King Henry VIII required farmers to set aside land for the cultivation of hemp, one quarter acre of hemp for every sixty acres of land, and this law had to be followed by the colonists. England wanted to continue their trends of manufacturing hemp textiles such as paper, clothing, and medicine & the New World was a perfect place where hemp could be grown and harvested to then be processed overseas.

Many colonies passed laws, independent of Europe influence, that encouraged farmers to produce hemp. Lobbyists were hired and books were published to educate the public about the importance of hemp and thereby establish hemp as America’s trademark product. Even the Puritans at Jamestown grew hemp. Mandatory cultivation of hemp continued throughout the New World so much so that several colonies passed legal tender laws to enact taxes on hemp to benefit the colonies because it was such a widely produced crop.

Hemp was without a doubt one of the most important crops to the common wealth in the 19th century. Founding fathers such as George Washington and Thomas Jefferson were both huge promoters of hemp.Washington even spoke of hemp in his farm diary citing the quality of the seeds and how he always took care to sow seeds in best areas on his farm.

As these educational efforts dwelled on, England continued to demand the raw materials of hemp to ensure the growth of their work force and economy overseas. Colonists began to get curious about becoming self sufficient with the idea of not only growing hemp but keeping it all to themselves which led to colonists declaring their independence from Britain. The Independence War from Europe was ignited via hemp production rights alongside the creation of the American paper industry. Hemp, linen, and cotton rags provided writing materials throughout the war that were essential for communication amongst the colonists to ensure victory.

Drifting Changes

As trends of industrialization increased the invention of a machine, the Decorticator, was introduced tot he American market. It was hailed as the gadget that was going to revolutionize the hemp industry in New World. It’s design began in 1861 in Germany and it’s popularity was made infamous in an article from a Popular Mechanics magazine dated February 1938. In the piece, the author spoke of how this machine implied that hemp industry had the potential of being worth over a billion dollars. In lieu of the technological revelation, hemp farmers were becoming very content with their cash crop of hemp.

However, businesses and corporations with a differing agenda began to grow weary of hemp’s continued popularization. They wished to take control of the paper industry themselves by changing the materials used for production from hemp to trees. This feat was a bit impossible due to the fact that hemp was an easy and accessible plant that all farmers could grow and produce for a multitude of reasons. Hence, the incredulous businesses began a campaign to control how the public viewed the substance to ultimately change the trends of agricultural acceptance.

Even though the THC levels of hemp are extremely low companies, businesses, and governments used this fact to their advantage and began to spread information that the recreational habit of ingesting or smoking the plant for it’s hallucinogenic properties was something to fear. This type of cultural practice stems all the way back to China in 5,000 BCE when pioneering herbalists would ingest the plant to expand their medicinal research.

The corporations responsible for the information behind the campagin were Hearst and DuPont. Hearst was a corporation that owned large timber holdings in the U.S. that joined efforts with DuPont who dominated the petrochemical market at the time: they manufactured plastics, paints, and other products consisting of varied fossil fuels. They began to be associated very close with marijuana, a plant with higher levels of THC, in a way that was misleading, confusing, and detrimental to the agricultural production of hemp. Hysteria ensued. In 1937, business efforts proved successful and the Marihuana Tax Act HR 6385 was passed with the help of the Senate. Even to this day it is difficult for public to accurately report the differences amongst hemp and marijuana thereby showing that the efforts of the old campaign were very powerful.

Environmental Benefits

Hemp is still grown in the U.S. but to a lesser extent than it was a century ago. What would happen if the U.S. decided to produce hemp yet again on a massive scale to manufacture products that we currently depend on other countries to make and import onto our soil? Let’s begin answering this question by going over the facts.

Hemp grows extremely fast in any kind of climate which means it could be easily integrated into a vast variety of agricultural systems. On top of that reality, hemp can be grown sans herbicides, fungicides, or pesticides. Plus, hemp is a natural weed suppressor because it grows so fast and so dense that it blocks out available sunlight that would otherwise be utilized by other weeds trying to grow.

Hemp has deep roots that naturally replenish soil with nitrogen. Furthermore, the stability of the plant contributes to controlling the erosion of topsoil.

Hemp can clean up toxins underground by removing or neutralizing detrimental toxins present in the soil, a process otherwise known as phytoremediation. What substance was used to clean up the Chernobyl nuclear disaster site to remove radioactive elements from the ground? You guessed it – hemp.

Switching to hemp paper would reduce deforestation significantly. For every 4 acres of trees that are required annually to make paper, only one acre of hemp is required to make the same amount of product.

These facts about hemp used to be a well known strand of cultural knowledge that farmers proudly touted. In modern times, many are oblivious to the great benefits of hemp and most incorrectly assume that it’s a drug due to the misinformation that was spread with the passage of the Marihuana Tax Act in 1937.


Research: Feeding hens with hemp

Researchers at Aarhus University, Denmark have been experimenting with feedings chickens hemp, to test whether giving the birds extra roughage with a high nutritional value can benefit the environment, their welfare, and their product quality.


In organic egg production, hens are offered roughage in the form of pasture vegetation in the hen yard, silage or vegetables as a supplement to their organic ration. Scientists from Aarhus University are now developing a new feeding concept whereby the rough, green forages are not simply used as a snack but as an integral and nutritious part of the diet.
“Roughage has a nutritional value of its own, which can provide additional nutrients to that supplied in the ready-mixed feed, senior scientist at Aarhus University Sanna Steenfeldt explained.
“Since the ration is formulated to cover all the requirements of the hens, the roughage only provides extra nourishment. In the new concept roughage is considered as an ingredient that contributes its own nutrients.”
Benefits for the environment, animal welfare and product quality
The new concept, where the composition of the total ration is optimised in combination with roughage, combines three key issues in organic egg production: consideration for the environment, animal welfare and product quality.
Product quality of organic eggs as result of feeding the various types of roughage on offer will be characterised by analysing, among other things, the taste and appearance of the egg yolk, egg albumen, eggshell quality, the composition of carotenoids, which give colour to the yolk, and the composition of fatty acids in the egg yolk.
The effects of the different types of roughage on the immune status and bowel health of the hens will be investigated, such as whether they are resistant to infection with the roundworm Ascaridia galli in order to increase the robustness and welfare of hens.
Optimising the composition of the diet could help reduce the excretion of nitrogen and phosphorus with benefits for the environment.
The hens used for the experiment is the robust and productive Hisex White breed, which at present is very common in organic egg production
Hemp or carrots?
The menu has a wide selection, where hemp is but one of the quirkier choices.
“Hemp is difficult to harvest but the hens love it because of its aroma. They do not get a high from the hemp, though, as there is so little cannabidiol in it that it cannot be detected,” Steenfeldt assured.
Each experimental group will have only one choice among the range of forages on offer, which includes maize silage, alfalfa silage, grass and herb silage, hemp silage, maize cob silage and a seasonal vegetable – either carrots, kale or beet roots. The control group will receive no roughage and only have access to bare ground in the hen yard. This means that the control group is not reared organically. They are included in the study to compare the general welfare of hens receiving roughage with those that do not.
The ready mixes that have been specifically formulated according to the type of roughage the hens receive are produced with the help from the agribusiness company DLG.
The experiments are a continuation of previous experiments that looked at the effect of different breeds and types of feed on egg quality.
The project is a joint effort between DLG, Danæg, and Knowledge Centre for Agriculture and has been funded by the Danish Innovation Act under the Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Fisheries and by the Danish Poultry Council (Fjerkræafgiftsfonden).

Jake Graves used to be a Kentucky hemp farmer, but that was 50 years ago

Jake Graves used to be a Kentucky hemp farmer, but that was 50 years ago. Now he’s out front in the battle to bring the crop back. He calls it one of our unalienable rights — "the freedom to farm."

Jacob Hughes Graves III is one of Kentucky’s native sons. He can trace his family in America back to the 1600s and lives in the grand old plantation home in Lexington built by his great-grandfather in 1852. Hemp farming in his family goes back at least 200 years. He has nine children and 17 grandchildren and at age 70, he is probably one of the few Kentucky hemp farmers still around. "The Last of the Mohicans," Graves calls himself.

He went to war in 1944 and when he returned a year later, he harvested his last crop. Though the Kentucky Hemp Growers Cooperative Association had been organized to help in the war effort, hemp production declined dramatically following war’s end and the Co-op was disbanded. But in 1994 with the emergence of a modern hemp marketplace, it was reincorporated to assist state farmers in reestablishing the industry. Jake Graves was named Co-op President.

He is a venerated figure throughout the state. In addition to being the owner and operator of picturesque Leafland Farm where he makes his home, he has served as Chairman of the Board of two banks and been a member of the board of trustees for three universities including the University of Kentucky. People value Jake Graves’ opinion. He knows farming. He is also glib and gets to the point quickly.

"This is business," he says in his sonorous Southern drawl. "There aren’t many crops that can shelter, clothe and feed you, and leave the soil in good condition. The world needs it."

He doesn’t have a lot patience for the anti-hemp rhetoric that concentrates on the evils of marijuana. "The Co-op has no interest in changing any of the laws pertaining to marijuana other than to distinguish it from industrial hemp," he says.

But if the subject does come up, he has a stock answer which is mighty hard to debate: "When you’re sittin’ at home with your family and having bowl of popcorn, does it pop into your mind that a bottle of whiskey comes from the same source? You got all different kinds of corn–feed corn, calico corn, white corn. That’s what I’m tryin’ to tell you about fiber hemp." You can’t argue with the common sense of a farmer.

There’s a long history of farmer sense to be had when you talk about hemp in Kentucky. In 1787, an item appeared in the Kentucky Gazette submitted by a female reader encouraging Kentuckians to avoid imports and grow their own food and fiber crops, especially hemp. "Shall we not be as comfortable and lovely clothed in homespun as in foreign lace and brocade?" she asked.

Many other newspaper articles and advertisements from the era indicate that horses, paper, food and even that old standby, money, were offered in trade for hemp. By the 1800s, hemp stood as the premier cash crop for Kentucky farmers. Many historians claim Kentucky was our nation’s leader in hemp production. It’s no secret why. Kentucky is known for its high-quality soil, reliable rainfall and abundant sunshine.

But the same combination of factors which hurt the industry in other states damaged Kentucky’s hemp industry during the early 1900s. Declining prices, labor scarcity, competition from other fiber crops and synthetic materials, as well as, industrial and socioeconomic upheavals, all contributed to a gradual decline of hemp farming which was only slightly alleviated by a brief period of production during World War II.

Today, however, Kentucky farmers are poised to revitalize the hemp industry. They are pioneers, part of a long and honorable American tradition of self-reliance, thrift and respect for Nature’s bounty. Their vehicle is the reborn Kentucky Hemp Growers Co-op.

The primary function of the Co-op is to serve as a clearinghouse through which farmers may negotiate and contract with different industries. Graves believes that farmers need to act cooperatively in a unified group in order to participate in the hemp industry on any equitable basis. He also says, "The farmer must have some say in how the industry evolves and what direction it takes."

The Co-op is not just a farmers’ think tank either. Late last spring, Co-op Executive Director Joe Hickey mounted a comprehensive hemp fiber conference in Lexington. Farmers and researchers alike attended, as did textile spinners and weavers, equipment manufacturers, paper processors and a host of politicians and public policy makers.

At the public forum that was scheduled at the end of the conference, Graves spoke first, invoking hemp’s prominent place in Kentucky history and the legacy of hemp in his own family. He then retired to the back of the conference hall to listen to others talk of the legitimate value that hemp offers our nation. While speakers aired glowing reports of the crop’s possibilities, the mood in the room grew buoyant–and the farmer’s smile on Jake Graves’ face grew wider. By the end of the forum, his smile had turned into a triumphant chuckle.

Jake Graves’ dreams of a Kentucky hemp comeback are very much alive.

Written by: Jerry Roberts

APRONSTORE Organic Hemp Aprons



Dad raised hemp for rope production, not for smoking, after World War II 5:43 PM, Sep 8, 2012

John Newport,  Springfield


Festival-goers celebrate hemp’s diversity” (News-Leader, Sep. 3) brought back memories. In 1946, I was living on a farm in south central Kentucky, and one spring day a couple of “feds” came by and asked my dad and the farmer on an adjoining farm if they would raise a few acres of hemp and harvest the seed.

The seeds were being grown for export to the Phillipines, where hemp had been a main crop before the war, and was used to make rope. As a result of the war, hemp seeds in the Phillipines were either in short supply, or nonexistent. My dad and the other farmer agreed to raise some hemp, and were well paid to do so.

The feds specified how the seeds were to be planted — in crossed rows, which made it possible to cultivate for weed control by plowing from east to west and from north to south.

They also specified how the seeds were to be “thrashed” by hand, and said that all stalks and leaves were to be burned immediately after the seeds had been gathered — which we thought was somewhat unusual.

Gathering and piling up the stalks, which were about 8 feet high, and burning them turned out to be the hardest part of the job.

My dad smoked his home-grown tobacco, and the thought of smoking some hemp leaves probably never occurred to him. However, the farmer on the adjoining farm didn’t smoke tobacco, and he smoked some hemp leaves — one time, he said.

He said the strange feelings he had after smoking hemp were such that he was afraid of something different, and worse, happening if he smoked it again.

Each summer for the next three years, the feds came by and looked for any hemp plants that might have grown from seeds lost in the “thrashing” process, and from being carried by birds far from the areas where the hemp had been grown.

Today, when I hear about people growing marijuana, I think, “Been there, done that.”


drought-stricken corn silage could contain toxic levels of nitrogen

FRANKFORT, Ky. — Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner James Comer is warning livestock producers and corn growers to take steps to avoid harming livestock by feeding drought-stricken corn silage.

Comer says with Kentucky’s corn crop and pastures suffering from little rain, growers are considering chopping their corn into silage to salvage some value. But he says they should first check to make sure the silage has acceptable nitrogen levels.

(MORE: Billion Dollar Droughts)

Comer says drought-stricken corn silage could contain toxic levels of nitrogen, which could be fatal if fed to livestock.

He says farmers who have federal crop insurance should check with their adjusters before making any big decisions.

Attorney General Conway Announces $101.7 Million in Tobacco Settlement

Office of the Attorney General
Attorney General Conway Announces $101.7 Million in Tobacco Settlement Money

Press Release Date:
Thursday, April 19, 2012

Contact Information:
Shelley Catharine Johnson
Deputy Communications Director
502-696-5659 (office)

Attorney General Jack Conway announced today that Kentucky, as required under the 1998 Master Settlement Agreement (MSA) between the major tobacco manufacturers and 52 states and territories, received its annual payment of more than $101.7 million in tobacco settlement money this week.

“The money Kentucky receives each year from the MSA provides funding for many invaluable programs –from agriculture to education,” General Conway said. “My office continues to closely monitor and enforce the agreement and stands ready to defend actions brought to challenge it in both state and federal courts.”

Under the MSA, the tobacco companies agreed to make annual payments in perpetuity to the settling states, to fund a national foundation dedicated to significantly reducing the use of tobacco products by youth and to abide by certain restrictions on promotional and lobbying activity. Kentucky’s share of the settlement is approximately $3.45 billion over the first 25 years. Payments are determined according to a formula that is calculated, in part, by the number of cigarettes sold by companies that have agreed to join the settlement. This year’s payment totals $101.7 million.

The total received by Kentucky since the initial MSA payment in 1999 is $1.4 billion for “Phase I.” An additional $600 million was received by Kentucky tobacco growers under “Phase II,” the Tobacco Growers Trust Agreement, which was created as a result of an MSA provision to address affected tobacco-growing communities in 14 states.

Most of the MSA payment was to be paid by the three largest cigarette manufacturers – Philip Morris USA, RJ Reynolds, and Lorillard. Philip Morris USA, RJ Reynolds and Lorillard put into a disputed payment account more than $750 million based upon their claim to reduced payments under a provision in the MSA called the Non-Participating Manufacturer (NPM) Adjustment. The Office of Attorney General is currently participating in an ongoing proceeding to obtain Kentucky’s full share of the disputed payment amounts going back several years.

This year marks the 14th full year since the signing of the landmark MSA. Cigarette sales nationally are down more than 30% since the agreement went into effect and the public health provisions of the MSA that restrict cigarette advertising and promotion in numerous ways have changed the way cigarettes are marketed in the United States. This decline will have significant long-term effects on the health of Kentucky citizens and in health care costs related to smoking in the future.

Although a portion of the payment was disputed, participating manufacturers still paid the states that are signatories to the agreement more than $6 billion this week, bringing the total payments made under the MSA thus far to all settling states to more than $72 billion.

Please note: Time4Hemp w/Casper Leitch, RE: Hemp Issue

Date: 4/20/2012



Subject: It’s PAY-DAY FRIDAY’S at ‘Time 4 Hemp – LIVE’

The below press release is on my blog at:

and might be more easy to share with a prospective client than sending out the below along with the attached image – either way – you have both now if you need them.

For immediate release: 04/11/12 – The attached photo is for use when posting or sharing this information if you like.
Pay-Day Fridays on ‘Time 4 Hemp – LIVE!’
A 12-part special about INDUSTRIAL HEMP
Hosted by Casper Leitch and first broadcast on

Hyper-links to each segment are located at the bottom of this press release.
You can enjoy a sample segment at the url below:

‘Time 4 Hemp – LIVE!’ recently produced a special 12-part series on INDUSTRIAL HEMP with an emphasis on the number of jobs that would be created from manufacturing the many different products that can be made from this one amazing plant. The cannabis plant is often associated with the name ‘marijuana’, which is harvested from strains of cannabis that have high levels of THC. In reality, this is a ‘3-Card Monty Trick’ a handful of Wall St. companies have played in order to maintain their fortunes. By growing industrial hemp, the manufacturing sector can produce 50,000 different products that are in direct competition with companies now operating in every aspect of our lives. Legalizing industrial hemp in America would give our farmers a cash crop that would transfer nearly 72% of the wealth now in the pockets of the 1% directly into the pockets of the 99% in less than 18-months. Along with this sudden transfer or wealth, the paradigm of humankind would shift in a twinkle of an eye.

According to the United States Office of National Drug Control Policy, Adidas, Ralph Lauren, Calvin Klein and a few other companies imported over $1.2 million of hemp fiber last year and retailed from that more than $70 million worth of products from their investment. BMW and other car makers are creating auto parts using hemp oil (which helps in part to keep those jobs from returning to America due to the policies of prohibition). There is also a multimillion dollar hemp food industry filling the shelves of American stores, from food to tanning lotion, that U.S. farm and labor markets could greatly prosper from.

With the disastrous state of the global economy, it is more important than ever that hemp prohibition in America be repealed. Doing so will create several million jobs in less than 12 months; free us from being dependent on foreign oil; make available safe medications for the desperately ill; empty many of the cells in today’s over-crowded prisons; and generate trillions of dollars in tax revenue that is currently funding black-market crime.
Program details and hyper-links are located below for each free to download segment.

Please share them with your friends.

Pay-Day Fridays on ‘Time 4 Hemp – LIVE!’

A 12-part special about industrial hemp.

1.) Joint-Host, Chris Conrad,

and guest Steve Levine,

Click on the link below to enjoy the show.

2.) Joint-Host, Miguel Bifari, associate editor of HAZE Magazine

with guests Gideon Tukwasibwe,

and Dean Becker, founder of

Click on the link below to enjoy the show.

3.) Joint-Host, Debbie Goldsberry, Founder and Director at United Cannabis Collective

with guest Karli Duran, Executive Director of San Antonio TX NORML,

Click on the link below to enjoy the show.

4.) Joint-Host, Robert Kane,

with guests Dennis Peron,

and Dean Becker, founder of

Click on the link below to enjoy the show.

5.) Joint-Host, Carey Burns,

with guest Paul Benhaim,

Click on the link below to enjoy the show.

6.) Joint-Host, Robert Kane,

with guests Johannes Jbarmarsson,

and Dean Becker, founder of

Click on the link below to enjoy the show.

7.) Joint-Host, Paul Stanford, founder of

with guests Paul Benhaim,

and Dean Becker, founder of

Click on the link below to enjoy the show.

8.) Joint-Host, Brad Irvin, founder of

with guest Dan Schultz, founder of

Click on the link below to enjoy the show.

9.) Joint-Host, Brad Irvin, founder of

with guest Dionne Payne,

Click on the link below to enjoy the show.

10.) Joint-Host, Brad Irvin, founder of

with guests Jeri Rose,

and Dean Becker,

Click on the link below to enjoy the show.

11.) Joint-Host, Brad Irvin, founder of

with guests Ray Cristal,

and Wayward Bill, Chairman of the United States Marijuana Party,

Click on the link below to enjoy the show.

12.) Joint-Host, James Burns

with guest Mike Bifari

Click on the link below to enjoy the show.

Please forward and share this information with everyone you feel would enjoy it.

Kentucky News Review: Berea College teaches students how to make small farms profitable

By Lu-Ann Farrar — Online content manager Posted: 8:57am on Apr 16, 2012; Modified: 9:09am on Apr 16, 2012


Above:  Bill Best and Berea College student Jessica Sloan worked in the greenhouse shelling some of the heirloom beans, in October 2003 in Berea. MARK CORNELISON — LEXINGTON HERALD-LEADER

Apr. 16, 2012
  • Berea College is a model for other schools that want to teach students how to make their land profitable, reports the New York Times. Students at Berea College had to rethink how they have raised and sold hogs because it was not profitable. Now, the students are selling a spicy sausage, bacon and chorizo that are making a profit.
  • The University of Kentucky libraries is dedicating the papers of faculty composer Joseph Baber, according to a press release from the university. The public is invited to a formal dedication of Baber’s papers at 3:30 p.m. Monday, Apr. 30, at the Great Hall of the Margaret I. King Building. The program will be followed by a reception and viewing of an exhibition of selected materials from the papers. A recital of his music will be presented by the UK School of Music at 7:30 p.m. on Apr. 30 at Singletary Center for the Arts.
  • A new historic marker was unveiled at Lexington’s Hunt-Morgan House, according to The old marker was "over 50 years old, difficult to read, and factually inaccurate." The previous marker will soon be displayed in the gardens of the Hunt-Morgan House. 

Read more here: