The History Of Hemp



    • SB 281, clarifying KDA's role in relation to hemp regulation in the state of Kentucky, is passed by the Kentucky Legislature.
    • Clearly articulating state & international line transportation and including previous hemp language, the 2017 Omnibus Spending Bill passes.
    • High expectations await the introduction of The Hemp Farming Act of 2017.


    • A Statement Of Principles that signifies the federal acceptance of hemp is issued by the US Department of Agriculture in conjunction with co-signers from the DEA/DOJ and FDA/HSS.
    • An announcement is made by NIFA (part of the USDA) that it will accept hemp-related projects for funding grants.
    • Support for hemp, hemp-derived CBD, and corresponding agricultural development for farmers & processors is clarified by the Kentucky Department of Agriculture (KDA).
    • US Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and various other governmental actors provide further written support for hemp as an agricultural commodity.
    • The nascent hemp industry's most significant regulatory document, the 2017 Policy Guide, is issued by the Kentucky Department of Agriculture (KDA).


    • An amendment allowing for the movement of hemp plant matter (including seeds) across state lines is contained in a U.S. Agricultural Appropriations bill.
    • The Omnibus Act, which prevents federal monies from being spent to "prohibit the transportation, processing, sale, or use of industrial hemp that is grown or cultivated in accordance with" Section 7606 of the U.S. Farm Bill, is signed by Congress.


    • A federal structure for state-level industrial hemp pilot programs engaging in growth, cultivation, and marketing is created by the U.S. Farm Bill (Section 7606). Corresponding legislation and regulatory structure at the state level provides a framework for low-THC hemp production that is federally legal.


    • Other than under DEA license as a Schedule 1 drug agricultural commodity (i.e. food), all cannabis, including hemp, is not federally approved, regulated, or lawful.
    • Since a 2009 ruling by the 9th Circuit Court granting HIA the right to import hemp products, import of hemp products sourced from stalk and seed only have increased exponentially.
    • By 2010, hemp foods are an essential staple in millions of individual's diets. Tens of thousands of hemp acres are grown in Canada. Over 30 countries product industrial hemp including Australia, China, Great Britain, France, Russia, and Canada.


    • The U.S. Pure Food and Drug Act is passed, regulating the labeling of products containing alcohol, opiates, cocaine, and cannabis, among others.
    • In 1914, The Harrison Act defined use of marijuana as a crime.
    • In 1937, Congress passed the Marijuana Tax Act which criminalized marijuana. Dr. William C. Woodward testifies before Congress on behalf of the AMA stating "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."
    • Cannabis is removed from the U.S. Pharmacopoeia and its medicinal use is no longer recognized in America in 1941.
    • In 1957, hemp is banned in the U.S. due to misconceptions around different types of cannabis plants.
    • The Controlled Substances Act of 1970 recognizes hemp as marijuana.
    • In 1971, the first evidence is found suggesting that marijuana may help glaucoma patients.
    • Nabilone, a cannabinoid-based medication, appears in 1975.
    • California, the first state to ban marijuana use, became the first state to re-legalize medical marijuana in 1996.


    • Cannabis is added to The U.S. Pharmacopoeia.
    • Abraham Lincoln uses hemp seed oil to fuel his household lamps.
    • French, Irish, and British physicians publish cannabis research in medical journals.
    • CBN, a cannabinoid is identified in 1890.
    • In 1895, American chemists isolate what they think is the active component in cannabis.


    • American farmers are required by law to grow hemp in Virginia and other colonies.
    • The Declaration of Independence is drafted on hemp paper.
    • Medical marijuana appears in The New England Dispensatory.

Legality of Hemp Products

The legal status of hemp in the United States was changed by The Agricultural Act of 2014 (2014 Farm Bill). The ability to grow, cultivate, process, and market hemp to state Departments of Agriculture and institutions of higher learning as long as research projects in accordance with state and federal law were conducted was conveyed by Section 7606 of that act. Hemp must be industrial to be federally legal, and the Kentucky Department of Agriculture (KDA) is the authority on whether or not something is true industrial hemp.

Although passage of The Agricultural Act of 2014 (2014 Farm Bill) opened a small window allowing Americans access to industrial hemp, it wasn't until the August 2016 issuance of a Statement of Principles by the USDA (co-signed by the DOJ/DEA and HHS/FDA) that federal agencies had a legal basis for the broad acceptance of industrial hemp. Recent clarifications have addressed and removed most of the legal questions regarding the movement of industrial hemp and hemp-derived products over state and/or international lines.

Kentucky's leadership in hemp reform, stemming from its long history as the dominant American supplier of industrial hemp products, has ensured that its farmers and processors are in the forefront as this agricultural commodity re-emerges. In a jurisdiction as famous for its farmers and hemp as it is for its Thoroughbreds, Kentucky-grown industrial hemp enjoys the clarity of rules designed to regulate the agricultural production of this re-purposed crop.

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