Imagine going to prison because your cousin committed a crime. Well, that is exactly what the prohibition of hemp was all about. You see, hemp is a species of plant that belongs to the Cannabis genus. Unfortunately what also belongs to the Cannabis genus is the infamous marijuana plant.
Marijuana contains a compound called delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol more commonly known as THC. THC is the compound or cannabinoid that makes you high. Hemp, on the other hand, has THC in such minute quantities (0.02%) that it cannot have the same intoxicating effect that marijuana does.
Unfortunately when marijuana was banned in the US in 1937 hemp too was included in the ban simply by virtue of its genealogy.
What is Hemp?
Hemp had been actively cultivated for hundreds of years in the United States before the ban. The strong hemp fibres were excellent for rope and sail-making with the additional advantage over other fibres of being salt-resistant. But that was not all; hemp was easy to grow, improved the quality of the soil and was found to have medicinal properties as well.
Henry Ford, a great supporter and cultivator of hemp, was actively creating bio-fuel from hemp seed oil. Ford even made biodegradable plastic from the fibres. Unfortunately, cheap and durable plastics and fuel were a threat to the oil and coal industry. Hemp fibres used to make paper were a threat to the lumber industry and many big businesses stood to lose a lot of money thanks to the humble hemp plant.
The Prohibition of Hemp
So what were these big businesses supposed to do? It is believed that the drug commissioner of that time Harry Anslinger, newspaper baron William Randolph Hearst, and oil magnet DuPont were the men responsible for demonizing hemp by linking it to marijuana.
Hearst’s newspaper spread the word that marijuana was an evil drug that made people violent and caused road accidents, and should be eradicated. At the same time, a bill was brought to the House of Ways and Means Committee. The committee proposed the bill in parliament and it was passed in three months.
The war against hemp and marijuana extended to Hollywood films like Reefer Madness, Marijuana: The Devil’s Weed, and Marijuana: The Assassin of Youth that portrayed the poor plant in a very bad light. Soon everyone knew that hemp was bad without having any real knowledge of what hemp actually was.
As hemp farmers had to destroy their crops and source of livelihood the oil, gas, coal, and petrochemical industry started to flourish. It was at the expense of a versatile and incredibly useful crop that a few men in power managed to get richer and more powerful. And it was the misfortune of the hemp plant that its relation to its more potent cousin set the stage for its downfall.
The History of Hemp in Ireland
Records show that during the 17th-century hemp was actively grown in Ireland for the use of its fibres in making sails and ropes. William O’Shaughnessy was also studying the medicinal properties of the plant.
At the same time that hemp was being banned in the US, it was also being banned in Ireland. The Dangerous Drug Act of 1934 took effect in 1937 and hemp was included in the banned substances. Prior to that the Dangerous Drug Act of 1920 passed in the UK also marked hemp as a controlled substance.
It was not until 1995 that research into the many benefits of hemp started to pick up in Ireland. The two main uses explored was CBD production and as a source of bio-fuel.
The de-stigmatizing of hemp
It has been a long road, but slowly with the help of solid scientific research, the difference between hemp and marijuana has been brought to light. As more people see that hemp does more good than harm and is non-psychoactive, its popularity is starting to grow. Industrial hemp as it is now called has been legalized in many parts of the world already including Ireland.
Can CBD be sold legally as a medicine?
According to the Health Products Regulatory Authority (HPRA) CBD is not considered medicine and cannot be prescribed by doctors. No medical claims can be made regarding CBD stating that it can cure any illnesses. In keeping with the HPRA regulations, we at Dr. Hemp Me do not answer any questions regarding the medical benefits CBD is rumoured to have. You can, however, go to our CBD FAQ page to find general information. A lot of information can be found with a simple google search.
Update 13/12/2018 – The End of Prohibition
Today the U.S House of Congress has finally passed the U.S Farm Bill. Thanks to the U.S Farm Bill the prohibition of hemp after 60 years is finally over in the U.S. This bill allows U.S farmers to plant and harvest hemp. The bill is expected to increase the interest of CBD for consumers and also researchers who found the hemp strain difficult to research due to its hazy laws. Although hemp was legal at the state level in many states across America this is the first time it is federally legal for the whole country. This allows farmers, researchers and hemp business owners to apply for insurance and federal grants.
Update 28/12/2018 – Hemps New Classification
Although it was hoped that the new U.S Farm Bill would reduce the severity in which Facebook was banning CBD and Hemp business pages it seems that this new ruling has caused the opposite effect. Facebook over the last few weeks has actually stepped up their persecution of CBD and hemp pages due to the new classification of CBD as a medicinal product. Facebook does not allow the sale or advertisement of medicinal products on its platform and therefore is now banning these pages. It is hoped that the FDA will eventually step in and clarify the situation. Story continues….
Dr. Hemp Me do not make any claims of medical or health benefits resulting from the use of our products. Any statements made have not been evaluated by any national regulatory agency.