The Controlled Substances Act of 1970 and the Marijuana Tax Act of 1937 are two of the most significant pieces of legislation that have criminalized hemp production in the United States. The Marijuana Tax Act of 1937 made it difficult for farmers to produce hemp, and the Controlled Substances Act of 1970 declared hemp illegal due to its association with marijuana. In recent years, however, there has been a shift in federal policy towards hemp, with the North Carolina House of Representatives and Senate approving a bill that would legalize industrial hemp production in the state. Senator Mitch McConnell has been a major advocate for hemp legalization, introducing provisions in the Farm Bill that would expand research on hemp and protect it from being classified as marijuana.
The Drug Enforcement Administration has granted several dozen permits to grow hemp in nine states, including Kentucky. In addition, Bruce Dietzen drove from Florida to Colorado in a deep red convertible made of hemp. Hemp has been used for centuries for various purposes, including cloth to wrap babies and cover the bodies of the dead. However, due to its association with marijuana, it has been criminalized in the US for decades.
While there are still concerns among law enforcement that cannabis plants used to obtain marijuana are mixed with hemp plants, this legislation makes hemp a dominant crop. The Hemp Industries Association has called for more research into hemp production to ensure that it remains stable as an agricultural product. With more research and advocacy from leaders like Senator McConnell, hemp may soon be fully legalized in the United States.