Fourth of July weekend is typically consumed by hot dogs, cold beers, and fireworks. However, this year is different. With a pandemic serving as the backdrop to a historical social justice movement, Luxury Leaf believes that this is a great opportunity to educate our followers about hemp’s American history.
Hemp, along with marijuana, are both products of the cannabis plant. Hemp is a fiber that can be used to make clothes, paper, and even rope. This same fiber has recently wedged itself into the athletic culture in the form of protein powder and the beauty industry in the form of nail polish. Hemp can be used for almost anything...you can make concrete out of hemp. Marijuana is a psychoactive drug that comes from the cannabis plant and is used both medicinally and recreationally.
It was believed that cannabis had been growing in North America long before Europeans made landfall and documented their travels. Hemp’s versatility made it an important crop for farmers during the early-1600s. In 1619, Virginia made it a requirement for farmers to grow hemp.
Hemp was an integral part of the early-American agricultural economy but shares an ugly history similar to cotton. Hemp was a product planted, cultivated, and harvested by slaves during this time period.
The cotton gin led to a drastic decline in the widespread growth of hemp. While this decline hurt the hemp industry, the final blow was administered in 1970 when all uses of cannabis were outlawed. The “War on Drugs” led to the mass incarceration of American citizens who committed nonviolent crimes, disproportionately affecting people of color. Many of these people are still behind bars today, for actions that are now legal in many states. Organizations like the Last Prisoner Project are trying to fix that.
Hemp is now making its case for the plant that could save the planet after many restrictions on cannabis have been lifted. With climate change becoming a more prominent issue each and every day, hemp is proving how it can help by reducing water waste that can be attributed to cotton crops.
In order to plant seeds for a more sustainable future, we must fight today for the release of unjustly incarcerated individuals charged with nonviolent, cannabis crimes. You can donate to the Last Prisoner Project when making a purchase on our website.
-Jared Fisch Luxury Leaf Marketing Associate