Hemp in America: A History of Hemp and the Government of the United States
Taylor, Andrew W.
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Hemp has played an important role in American history, the Declaration of Independence was originally written on hemp paper for example, but because marijuana is derived from the hemp plant the plant has acquired the stigma of illicit drugs which overlooks its varied uses and historical record in the United States. George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Benjamin Franklin all grew hemp for the purposes of obtaining the durable fiber for which the plant is known. In my research I focused on the activities of War Hemp Industries, a quasi-governmental corporation set up in 1943 to produce hemp fiber for the United States during World War II, because that records of that program provided the largest amount of historical documents to which I had access. War Hemp Industries was considered to be very important to the war effort of the United States during World War II. While not as indispensable as say guns or ammunition, the armed forces used hemp in very important ways, especially the navy. War Hemp Industries is part of the larger historical picture of hemp which extends back to the cotton economy of the nineteenth century and to the first settlements of North America.