Hemp: A Short History of the Most Misunderstood Plant and Its Uses and Abuses
A factual look at a controversial subject.
In 1935, Popular Science magazine hailed hemp as the new Billion Dollar Crop. Two years later, it was banned. Hemp is the world's strongest natural fiber and has been cultivated for its practical uses for over 10,000 years.
It was the main cash crop of New France (now Canada) since one naval warship required up to 60 tons of hemp rope for its rigging, including the 25-inch thick anchor cable. Presidents George Washington and Thomas Jefferson grew hemp, and Benjamin Franklin owned a hemp mill. Later, in the 19th century, Levi Strauss built a legend thanks to durable jeans made from hemp fiber.
Things have changed and today hemp is grown for food, used to make insulation in clothes and buildings, burned as fuel, made into medicine and distilled into hemp oil for use in lotions, soaps, and cosmetics. Hemp is a lively, engaging book that explores the history of this controversial plant, including the ongoing struggle for reclaiming its legitimacy.
Mark Bourrie is a veteran journalist and author of six books including a best-selling collection of Great Lakes shipwreck stories.