1930 - 1950

WI leads nation in Hemp production

1931

Newspaper from California prints Wisconsin leads the nation in hemp production. Hemp competes against other fibers that are cheaper to produce.

Hemp hurd for paper making

1935

Correspondence between Sidney Wells of Combined Locks Paper Company and Lester H. Dewey of the United States Department of Agriculture Office of Fiber Investigations on processing hemp hurd for paper products. Lester Dewey states hemp hurd has been sent to Wisconsin processing mills in Brandon, Waupun, Juneau, and Beaver Dam for a trial run on paper making.

Marihuana Tax Act

1937

United States Congress drafts legislation titled “Marihuana Tax Act” and sets up a tax to regulate Cannabis. Matt Rens of Rens Hemp Company in Wisconsin writes a detailed analysis on the legislation to safeguard the industry in Wisconsin.

View Study of Hemp View Matt Rens 1937

New Billion Dollar Crop Article

1938

Popular Mechanics runs an article titled “New Billion Dollar Crop” highlighting the growing hemp industry in the United States.

American Hemp national strategic list discussion

1939

Matt Rens, Andrew Wright, and US Senator Alexander Wiley correspond with each other over the idea of making American Hemp a national strategic list. The beginning of Wisconsin hemp used for the war effort is first discussed.

Navy Demand for hemp booms

1941

The US Navy is in demand for hemp as the war effort booms. Wisconsin hemp rope will be used to moor battleships. The Capital Times runs a headline that Wisconsin hemp is a $3,000,000 crop and the state produces 75% of raw material for cordage and rope.

Hemp Industry Infastructure

1942 - 1943

United States builds up the infrastructure for the War Hemp industries throughout the country. Correspondence between Senator Wiley, officials at the USDA, Wisconsin towns, and canning companies regarding the growing hemp industry. Wisconsin townships want to be a part of the growing hemp industry; notably Darlington, Waterloo, Janesville, and Randolph. Canning companies write letters to protest an increase hemp production in Wisconsin.

View Production Hemp in WI View Memo on Hemp Conference

WI Hemp in war effort

1944

One of the hemp mills in Cuba City, Wisconsin starts processing for the war effort. Due to the shortage of foreign supply of hemp, Wisconsin meets the needs of hemp rope for US Navy.

Marijuana Tax Act statement

1945

Dr. Andrew Wright gives a statement concerning the Marijuana Tax Act of 1937 in relation to fees levied against hemp fiber farmers. US War Department decreases funding for the hemp industry over this time period. Matt Rens Hemp Company in Brandon, WI is still processing hemp for cordage and rope to the US Navy, but in 1950, Matt Rens dies. Rest of the United States transitions to new crops to grow or shut down hemp operations entirely.

Read Dr. Wright's Statement