Industrial hemp is a variety of the plant Cannabis sativa L. that contains no more than 0.3% concentration (in dry weight) of the psychoactive compound delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). This low concentration of THC means that industrial hemp is not a narcotic and does not have any psychoactive or therapeutic effects. Instead, it has been traditionally used for manufacturing purposes, such as paper, ropes, textiles, clothing, biodegradable plastics, paint, insulation, biofuel, food and animal feed.
Hemp is one of the fastest growing plants on Earth and was one of the first plants to be spun into usable fiber 50,000 years ago. It can be refined into a wide range of commercial items and has been used for centuries to make items ranging from ropes to fabrics and industrial materials. In recent years, hemp has become increasingly popular as a business sector due to its many uses and potential benefits. Hemp was first imported to the United States by George Washington from India and Asia.
In 2014, the US government passed legislation that allowed states and universities to research the cultivation of hemp. This has led to a surge in hemp-based products, such as Bruce Dietzen's deep red convertible made entirely from hemp. The University of Kentucky School of Medicine's Ambrose has studied the connection between hemp and Transylvania for centuries. He told PBS NewsHour that public accountants have an opportunity to play an important role in this growing business sector.
However, many hemp companies are struggling to finance their operations and obtain banking services due to lack of clarity on how banks can provide services to hemp companies. In 1640, King John IV of Portugal placed a renewed emphasis on the cultivation of hemp in order to recover the weakened Portuguese naval fleet after the Restoration of Independence. Hemp seeds are not psychoactive and cannot be used to get high; however, they can be made into a suspension used in baking or for beverages such as hemp milk and herbal teas. In 1997, Ireland and other countries began legally cultivating industrial hemp again. Since then, many people have become advocates for re-legalizing hemp in the United States, including former star of “Cheers” and current Senate majority leader and state senator from Kentucky.
The University of Manitoba's Hemp Awareness Committee was one of the first organizations to initiate modern research into the potential of cannabis in the early 1990s.