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1563: Queen Elizabeth orders landowners with 60 acres or more to grow cannabis or face a £5 fine

In 1533, King Henry VIII decreed that all landholders set aside one-quarter acre for the cultivation of  hemp for every sixty acres of land that they tilled, in order to provide the necessary fibre required by the nation. This was to satisfy the increased demand for rope and sailcloth for  King Henry's VIII new navy.

 

In 1563 Queen Elizabeth I reintroduced the law to expand her navy and she added a £5 fine for any eligible landlord who failed to comply. From then on the demand increased and the hemp industry became a very important industry to the British economy. They had to improve the supply of this strategic raw material when in the 1630s the British sped up their colonization of the new world.[1]

 

1. Deitch, Robert (2003) Hemp: American history revisited: the plant with a divided history. page 12. Algora Publishing. Accessed 2010-01-16.
Research and text © Hempshopper Amsterdam.