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“(The Marijuana Tax Act) didn’t really affect us as growers, other than we had to pay a small tax and sign a paper stating that we wouldn’t use the plant as a drug,” explains hemp farmer and Matt’s nephew, Junior Prange.

“What really killed the hemp industry in the 1950s was the availability of cheap synthetic fibers.” World War II brought on the final burst in American hemp-fiber production.

Kentucky still produced much of the hemp seed and Matt’s Wisconsin mills produced most of the fiber.

Ultimately, hemp’s use as a fiber crop was crippled by politics.

The Colonies produced cordage, cloth, canvas, sacks and paper from hemp during the years leading up to the Revolutionary War.

Most of the fiber was then destined for British consumption, although at least some was used for domestic purposes.

Hemp fiber was so important to the young Republic that farmers were compelled by patriotic duty to grow it, and were allowed to pay taxes with it.But before the project was fully realized, the war ended, along with demand for domestic hemp fiber. I love how soft hemp shirts are, but I would rather buy American made products.Many Midwestern towns (and farmers) were left high and dry with empty or partially constructed plants, and cancelled hemp contracts. I'm not sure if we are grown up enough that we finally started producing goods or if we're still only allowed to import hemp products.Maybe someday the United States will learn how to produce goods again for themselves, instead of adapting their work force into service slaves.The Library of Congress has compiled a list of historic events for each day of the year, titled "This Day in History." The website is updated daily and visitors can view the previous day's history as well as whatever documents, pictures, or outside information is available for each historical event.

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