Hempstone Heritage

Hemp History 1915 - 1935

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California Outlaws Cannabis

October 8, 1862






USDA Bulletin #404 calls for a new program to expand hemp to replace uses of timber in industry.


THE SEED SUPPLY OF THE NATION - HEMP “Hemp must be specially planted for seed production, and in view of the increasing importance of the crop, seed production should be strongly encouraged. Chile offers possibilities in this connection, but for the present our efforts should be exerted at home. Our planting requirements, based on the acreage of 1917, are about 2,100,000 pounds of seed”  1917 Yearbook of the USDA Author: R.A. Oakley, Agronomist in Charge of Seed Distribution, Bureau of PlantIndustry Pages: 526-527


American George W. Schlichten patented a new machine for separating the hemp fiber from the internal woody core (“hurds”), reducing the labor cost 100 times and increasing fiber yield by 60 times. That combined with new technology to fashion paper and plastics from hemp derived cellulose,


"Early maturing varieties, chiefly of Italian origin, are being grown at Madison, Wisconsin, in cooperation with the Wisconsin Agricultural Experiment Station. This is the third year of selection for some varieties, and the results give promise of the successful production in that State of seed of hemp fully equal to the Ferrara of northern Italy." USDA. Bureau of Plant Industry. 1918. Report of the Chief. p. 28


When the work with hemp was begun in Wisconsin, there were no  satisfactory machines for harvesting, spreading, binding, or breaking. All of these processes were performed by hand. Due to such methods, the hemp  industry in the United States had all but disappeared. As it was realized from the very  beginning of the work in Wisconsin that no permanent progress could be made so long as it was necessary to  depend upon hand labor, immediate attention was given to solving the problem of power machinery. Nearly every kind of hemp machine was studied and tested. The obstacles were great, but through the cooperation of experienced hemp men and one large harvesting machinery company, this problem has been nearly solved. The hemp crop can now be handled entirely by machinery."  Wright, Andrew. 1918. Wisconsin's Hemp Industry. Wisconsin Ag Experiment Station Bulletin # 293. p.5.


1917 Yearbook USDA Author: W.W. Stockberger, Physiologist in Charge of Drug-Plant and Poisonous-Plant Investigations,Bureau of Plant Industry Pages: Excerpts from 169 & 171 PRODUCTION OF DRUG-PLANT CROPS IN THE UNITED STATES Medicinal plants have been cultivated in the United States for more than two centuries. Only a few decades have elapsed since healing herbs shared with small fruits and vegetables a place in every kitchen garden, and in certain localities their production and sale at one time formed the basis of small industries. In time, however, the numerous convenient preparations obtainable at every drug store rendered the domestic herb garden no longer necessary, and the great development of foreign commerce made it possible to obtain supplies of most crude drugs from sources where the cost of production was less than in this country. 1917 Yearbook USDA Author: W.W. Stockberger, Physiologist in Charge of Drug-Plant and Poisonous-Plant Investigations, Bureau of Plant Industry Pages: Excerpts from 169 & 171.Cannabis is now grown commercially as a side line by a few farmers in South Carolina and by occasional individuals in some other States. Two large drug manufacturers also grow sufficient cannabis for their own needs. Considerable technical skill is required to produce cannabis of a quality that will meet the standard requirements for this drug. Cannabis grown in some localities is deficient in the active principles upon which its value depends, and preliminary tests to determine the quality of the product are therefore always advisable before  planting this crop on a commercial scale


Texas outlaws Cannabis - Senator said on the floor of the Senate: "All Mexicans are crazy, and this stuff [marijuana] is what makes them crazy."


"The work of breeding improved strains of hemp is being continued at Arlington Farm, Va., and all previous records were broken in the selection plats of 1919. The three best strains, Kymington, Chington and Tochimington, averaged, respectively, 14 feet 11 inches, 15 feet 5”, and 15 feet 9 inches, while the tallest individual plant was 19 feet. The improvement by selection is shown not alone in increased height but also in longer internodes, yielding fiber of better quality and increased quantity." USDA. Bureau of Plant Industry.1920  Report of the Chief


"The organized hemp growers of Wisconsin, working in cooperation with the field agent of fiber investigations [Andrew Wright], have so improved the quality and standardized the grades of hemp fiber produced there that it has found a market even in dull times. The hemp acreage in that State has been kept up, although there has been a reduction in every other hemp-producing area throughout the world." USDA. Annual Report  Dept of Ag:  p. 46.


"In 1929 three selected varieties of hemp (Michigan Early, Chinamington and Simple Leaf) were grown in comparison with unselected common Kentucky seed near Juneau, Wis. Each of the varieties had been developed by 10 years or more of selection from the progeny of individual plants. The yields of fiber per acre were as follows: Simple Leaf, 360 pounds; Michigan Early, 694 pounds; Chinamington, 1054 lbs; common Kentucky, 680 pounds." USDA. 1929. Bureau of Plant Industry, Annual Report. p. 27.


Andrew Mellon, Treasury Secretary and head of Bank of Pittsburgh, which loaned Dupont 80% of its money, appoints his nephew-in-law,  Harry J. Anslinger, to head newly formed Federal Bureau of Narcotics (later to become the DEA)


"The hemp breeding work, carried on by the Bureau for more than 20 years, was discontinued in 1933, but practical results are still evident in commercial fields. A hemp grower in Kentucky reported a yield of 1750 pounds per acre of clean, dew-retted fiber from 100 acres of the pedigreed variety Chinamington grown in 1934. This is more than twice the average yield obtained from ordinary unselected hemp seed." USDA. 1935. Annual Reports Dept of Agriculture, p.6.