Hemp at the US Botanical Garden
Stands to reason that the oldest botanical garden in the United States should showcase one of the oldest cultivated crops in human history. That just makes sense, right?
At the insistence of US Representatives Eleanor Holmes, Barbara Lee and Earl Blumenauer, we will learn on May 4th whether hemp will be included in the collection of the United States Botanical Garden in Washington, DC. (Read their letter here.)
The nation's oldest continuously operating botanical garden was conceived as a "living plant museum" by George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and James Madison, and finally established by Congress in 1820. It has been in continuous operation since 1850 on the US Capitol grounds, and is older than the Capitol building itself!
As for hemp, faithful readers of the American Cannabis Report will know the various accounts of hemp in history which report it being cultivated in China as early as 8,000 BC. From there, it made its way around the world in the wild and via trade routes, including the land bridge to America that has long since dropped into the Bering Sea.
A journey forward through human history can't be told without mentioning hemp, in the form of clothing and grain, sails and ropes of great exploring ships and navies, paper in the Gutenberg Bible and the fabric of DaVinci's canvases, as taxes paid by early Pennsylvania and Maryland farmers, laid on Ben Franklin's printing presses and used to draft the Declaration of Independence and create the 13 stars on and stripes on Betsy Ross' first flag. Hemp canvas made the canopies for covered wagons crossing the Great Plains, and the first blue jeans made by Levi Strauss.
In 1937 Popular Mechanics Magazine ran a cover story which posited that hemp - which was already a renewable natural resource for 10 major industrial categories in countries in the world - might be "The New Billion-Dollar Crop".
Coincidentally, at that very moment, a few wealthy and powerful industrialists and politicians whose products couldn't compete with hemp in the real world had the very same idea at the very same time: stamp out hemp.
To do this, William Randolph Hearst hatched a monster story so outrageous and terrifying that it would scare the bejeezus out of the American people so they would willingly give up hemp altogether. The monster story?
Flash forward to today, a few years after the 2018 Farm Bill legalized hemp again for industrial purposes - the same industrial purposes that were thwarted in 1937.
The very same industrial purposes that have supported mankind for almost 10,000 years.
The very same plant may soon be grown on the grounds of the US Capitol.
Special thanks to Karen Rappaport of Muddy Girl Media for introducing us to this interesting story on the State of Cannabis News Hour!