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A Brief History of Hemp in the United States

History of Hemp

Produced by Patagonia

Natural. Misunderstood. Legal. This is the story of the history of hemp in the United States. A forbidden fiber in the U.S. since 1970, hemp has taken the heat for almost five decades. Until the Farm Bill passed in December of 2018, hemp was federally illegal to grow for commercial purposes, making it risky for businesses to invest in a new crop that was incorrectly classified as a drug. Visit to learn more.

History of Hemp in the United States

Field of Hemp

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How Cannabis Became Marijuana

By Dr. David Bearman, Huffington Post Contributor, a California M.D. who specializes in pain management, harm reduction and medical cannabis

Cannabis has been many things; from the most important agricultural crop in the world to the most vilified drug. Use of cannabis in the Americas for purposes other than industrial hemp production may have existed as early as the 16th or 17th century. It is reported that slaves taken from Africa to work on sugar plantations in Brazil in the 16th century brought cannabis with them. They were allowed to plant it between the rows of cane and they would allegedly smoke it between harvests. Over the centuries, the use of cannabis made its way up South America across Central America to Mexico. By the mid-19th century, its use in Mexico, particularly amongst the poor, was popular. While written of in popular media, it was rarely discussed in upper-class media.

How Cannabis Became Marijuana

Exactly where the term marijuana itself came from is open to debate. Some say it came from the Spanish words for “Mary Jane”, popularized by Mexican culture of the time. Others point to the Portuguese word for intoxication, “marihuango” or the Mexican “mariguana”, which also means intoxication.

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