“Hemp is, by far, Earth’s premier, renewable natural resource. This is why hemp is so very important.” – Jack Herer By: Laine Hammer & Cyrus Sepahbodi At Papa & Barkley, our goal is to introduce our customers to the joys of plants as medicine. We use CBD derived from hemp (aka Cannabis sativa with less than .3% THC) for our national line of products to help you feel better every day, and we bet that you have more hemp in your home than you realize. There might be hemp seeds in your cereal, your protein powder, snack cupboard, or that farmer’s market canvas tote you love so much. Bet you didn’t know that your brake pads may contain hemp too. Historically, hemp has been one of the greatest commodities known to humans — and in honor of 420, we are celebrating the history of hemp and one of the greatest life-long advocates of the plant, Jack Herer.  

Hemp: A History 

Hemp is considered one of the earliest plants cultivated for textile fiber. Archaeologists have discovered a remnant of hemp cloth in ancient Mesopotamia that dates to 8,000 BC and historians have found reference to the Emperor Shen Nung (28th century BC) who taught his people to cultivate hemp for cloth. During the middle ages, hemp became an important crop socially and economically by supplying food and fiber. Sailing ships became dependent on canvas, hemp rope, and oakum because of its strength and resistance to salt water. During the Japanese invasion of the Philippines in 1942 sources of hemp to the U.S. were cut off, creating higher demands for industrial hemp. To meet the demand for war production, the U.S. and Canadian governments lifted restrictions so that farmers with special permits could grow hemp to supply the war effort. In 1937,  when the Marihuana Tax Act  was enacted, hemp production in the United States heavily declined. When the Controlled Substances Act passed in 1971, all forms of cannabis including Cannabis Sativa L (hemp), were classified as Schedule I narcotics and therefore federally prohibited.     

Jack Herer: The Emperor of Hemp 

A hemp crisis arose in America in the 1930’s due to propaganda created by companies with vested interest – petroleum-based synthetic textile companies, large newspapers, and lumber barons saw hemp as a threat to their businesses. This led to considerable lobbying to restrict hemp as an industrial commodity. Nearly four decades later, American cannabis rights activist Jack Herer began his efforts to decriminalize and legalize cannabis and to expand the use of hemp for industrial use.  

Often called the Emperor of Hemp or Hemperor, Herer founded and served as the director of the organization Help End Marijuana Prohibition (HEMP). His book, “The Emperor Wears No Clothes” is in its twelfth edition after having been continuously in print for 31 years. He highlighted hemp’s “versatility as paper, fiber, fuel, food and medicine” 

“Growing hemp as nature designed it is vital to our urgent need to reduce greenhouse gases and ensure the survival of our planet.” –Jack Herer 

Ending Hemp Prohibition: The Farm Bill 

Since 2013, farmers and ranchers have weathered a 50% drop in income. The Farm Bill came about as a result of a mounting farming crisis in the last decade. The bill itself seeks to crack down on corporate farming in order to help support family farms and restore measures like supply management (which curbs over production), and repair pricing policies, among other measures. Notably, the Farm Bill also incorporates the farming of industrial hemp and hemp for hemp-derived CBD. As a result, the manufacturing and sale of hemp-derived CBD products has skyrocketed on the national market. On December 20, 2018, President Trump signed the Farm Bill (H.R.2)  into law. The farm bill is an omnibus, multiyear law that governs various agricultural and food programs. The most recent farm bill covers farm commodity revenue supports, agricultural conservation, trade and foreign food assistance, farm credit, research, rural development, forestry, bioenergy, horticulture, and domestic nutrition assistance. Typically renewed about every five or six years, the farm bill provides a predictable opportunity for policymakers to comprehensively and periodically address agricultural and food issues. With this version, we saw the legalization of hemp. Though hemp has been legalized, it has been met with several stipulations: hemp cannot contain more than 0.3% THC, or it is considered non-hemp cannabis, a state’s plan to license and regulate hemp can only occur once the Secretary of the USDA approves the state’s plan, and lastly, while the Farm Bill legalizes hemp, it does not create a system where people can grow it as freely as basil or your garden variety vegetables.       

Hemp Could Save the Planet 

It is no wonder that hemp has been used since 8,000 B.C – this plant really can do it all. It can feed, clothe, shelter, heal, and so much more. Hemp has historically had over 25,000 diverse uses ranging from paint, printing inks, paper, government documents, bank notes, food, textiles, canvas, and building materials. Modern technical developments have led to hemp being used for composite boards, motor vehicle brake and clutch pads, plastics, fuels, biodiesel, and eco-solid fuels. “There is only one plant that can completely substitute for fossil fuel. The plant is an annual that grows in all 50 states. It is the fastest growing sustainable biomass on the planet. It can produce paper, fiber, food, and fuel.” – Jack Herer   

Benefits of Hemp: 

  • Takes 3-6 months to decompose 
  • 1 ton of hemp removes 1.63 tons of CO2 
  • Roots prevent soil erosion 
  • Completely non-toxic 
  • 5x stiffer and 2.5x stronger than traditional plastic 
  • Heat resistant (Great for culinary use) 

We have seen several clothing brands, such as Jungmaven, boast hemp as their solitary fabric – ushering eco-friendly clothing into the mainstream fashion industry. As you can see, hemp isn’t going anywhere. In fact, the need for it is growing. More and more people are seeing how vital it is to our health, and the well-being of our planet. Not only could it completely replace the need for plastic bags and help heal the environment, as shown through our various cannabis wellness products, it’s changing the face of the wellness industry, too. Hemp–derived CBD is now available nationwide. Papa & Barkley has always believed in unlocking the potential of cannabis to improve people’s lives. That is why believe in a one plant philosophy – cannabis and hemp as equals – one is neither better than the other. We offer a full regimen of hemp products in our Releaf CBD line that can introduce you to all the benefits that hemp has to offer the mind and body. 

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A History of Hemp & Remembering Jack Herer
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A History of Hemp & Remembering Jack Herer
The history of hemp spans nearly 10,000 years and continues to this day. In honor of 420 we are celebrating the history of hemp and the greatest advocate of the plant, Jack Herer.
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Papa & Barkley
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