What is hemp?
The hemp plant (Cannabis sativa) is a crop that has been cultivated by humans for thousands of years. According to the Columbia History of the World, the oldest relic of human industry is a piece of hemp fabric that dates back to to 8000 BC!
Hemp, sometimes called industrial hemp, is the same species as marijuana, but is cultivated differently for different purposes. It's THC content is very low, less that .3%, and therefore has no psychoactive properties.
Why did you want to open a hemp boutique?
We really dig our planet and want it to be a livable place for a long time! As a crop, hemp offers huge environmental advantages to other industrial crops such as cotton, soy, corn and trees. It requires far less water, and because of its strength, requires virtually no pesticides or herbicides. Hemp can out-muscle weeds. It grows quickly, maturing in as little as 100 days. Clear-cutting hemp fields for paper fiber has obvious advantages to clear-cutting trees.
The entire plant from root to flower can be processed for use into food, clothing, biofuel, building materials, paper and medicine. Hemp fabrics are antimicrobial and extremely durable.
Hemp in the USA - a brief history with some fun facts:
Back in the days of our founding fathers, hemp was an important crop for both economic and functional purposes. George Washington grew hemp in all of his Mt. Vernon farms for making nautical ropes, nets, threads and clothing. There is speculation that Betsy Ross used hemp to make our first flag. (We have a huge 100% hemp flag hanging in our store!) One of the earliest drafts of our Declaration of Independence was written on hemp parchment.
Hemp continued to play a major role in the American farming scene right up through the beginning of the twentieth century. It was so important to the American economy that hemp farmers were honored on the 1914 $10 bill.
In 1937 the US government passed for various political reasons the Marijuana Tax Act which strictly regulated the growth of hemp. This did not hamper Henry Ford's inventiveness. He unveiled a car in 1941 which was partially constructed with hemp materials and ran on hemp biofuel.
Finally in 1970 the Controlled Substance Act was passed, which declared all cannabis varieties, including hemp, an illegal Schedule I drug, and also prohibited the growth of hemp as a crop.
Hemp's American return!
Almost half a century later, the tide is finally turning! Thanks to the US Farm Bill of 2014, hemp can now be grown again for research purposes in states that support it. New York State is now one of them, and there are dedicated hemp farms all around this region.
In April 2018, Senator Mitch McConnell introduced a bill to legalize hemp and recognized the boost this would give to America's farming economy.