Back in the days before America got Reefer Madness, the good old U.S.A. was a worldwide center of hemp production. Verdant fields of the incredibly useful fiber crop were cultivated all over the country. Once cannabis was outlawed in 1937 due to Harry J. Anslinger’s scare campaign against marijuana, the economic incentive to cultivate hemp was gone.
Where the Wild Weeds grow
After a brief return in the “Hemp For Victory” days of World War II — when the Japanese takeover of our fiber source, the Philippines, made it necessary to once again provide our own rope — hemp faded into American history as a crop of bygone days.
But that didn’t mean it was any less useful, it just meant it was no longer politically acceptable. And it also didn’t mean that hemp would no longer grow in Nebraska (and throughout much of the Midwest), it just meant it was no longer actively cultivated.