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Early 20th Century Hemp Paper

By Ted Smith

In 1916, the USA Department of Agriculture published Bulletin #404, announcing to the world an important new discovery in hemp processing.  This discovery should have lead to a huge wave of interest in hemp, but ironically it was the trigger that lead to Reefer Madness as I will discuss in a later video.  At the time, though, this development gave many farmers hope that hemp could become more profitable.

Paper had been made using the fiber of the plant for thousands of years, as the fiber is strong, flexible and durable.  The hurds, or cork inside the plant, were never used for more than animal bedding.  This new process could turn the hurds into paper, turning a waste product into a valuable raw material using much less chemicals than wood paper production, too.

Unfortunately large scale production of hemp hurd paper did not become a reality in North America as a result.  Thought the USA Department of Agriculture was aggressively promoting the use of hemp under the solid direction of Lyster Dewey, other economic forces fought against the expansion of hemp into new markets.  Just a few years before this announcement, in 1913, the Department of Agriculture published a large section on hemp in their annual yearbook, indicating how enthusiastic the government was about hemp at the time.

For more information about the incredible history of the cannabis plant, please buy my book, HEMPOLOGY 101: THE HISTORY AND USES OF CANNABIS SATIVA.  Or you could simply subscribe to our youtube channel and watch more of these videos.  Have a hempy day.

Read more from Ted Smith on the Cannabis Digest Blogs

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