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1970 | Controlled Substances Act Bans U.S. hemp production

Updated: Dec 5, 2019

On October 27, 1970 President Richard Nixon signed into law The Controlled Substances Act of 1970. The Controlled Substances Act regulates the prescribing and dispensing of psychoactive drugs, including; narcotics, hallucinogens, depressants, and stimulants.

This law classified the Cannabis sativa plant as an illegal “schedule I drug,” which imposed strict regulations on the cultivation of marijuana, as well as industrial hemp. The act does not distinguish hemp from marijuana, and includes all varieties of cannabis.

Under the Controlled Substances Act, farmers could only grow hemp after registering with the DEA. In practice, registration’s high costs “make hemp production prohibitive, even at the research level.” Registration required, among other things, substantial documentation, FBI background checks, and high security measures around the hemp plot, including security fencing and a 24-hour monitoring system. Only one grower in U.S. history successfully registered with the DEA to grow hemp during prohibition.

Photo: President Nixon Signing Law into act (

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