This week, June 4-10, is Hemp History Week.  All across the U.S., fans of what many call “the most useful plant on Earth” are celebrating the history of this historic plant.  Because hemp is considered to be so useful and has played such an important role in American history, it’s rather ironic that it is currently illegal to grow hemp in the United States.

The Versatile, Valuable Hemp Plant

First of all, let’s make a distinction between industrial hemp and marijuana.  Industrial hemp is a different strain of the cannabis sativa plant that does not contain high levels of THC.  THC is the psychoactive compound in marijuana that creates the “high” that users experience when they smoke it.  In other words, it is utterly impossible to get high off of industrial hemp.

According to our friends at HempHistoryWeek.com, “While American farmers often net less than $50 per acre for soy and corn, Canadian farmers just across the border net an average of $200-400 per acre for hemp.”  In 2011, American sales of hemp and hemp products was estimated at $419 million.  As it’s illegal to hemp grow in the U.S., all of these hemp products were imported, most likely from either Canada or China.  Growing hemp would be a huge economic boost for