A strong, lustrous fiber, hemp withstands heat, mildew, and insects and is not damaged by light. Oil paintings on hemp and/or flax canvas have stayed in fine condition for centuries.
For thousands of years, virtually all good paints and varnishes were made with hempseed oil and/or linseed oil.
Paints & Varnishes
For instance, in 1935 alone, 116 million pounds (58,000 tons*) of hempseed were used in America just for paint and varnish. The hemp drying oil business went principally to DuPont petro-chemicals.8
*National Institute of Oilseed Products congressional testimony against the 1937 Marijuana Transfer Tax Law. As a comparison, consider that the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), along with all America’s state and local police agencies, claim to have seized for all of 1996, 700+ tons of American-grown marijuana: seed, plant, root, dirt clump and all. Even the DEA itself admits that 94 to 97 percent of all marijuana/hemp plants that have been seized and destroyed since the 1960s were growing completely wild and could not have been smoked as marijuana.
Congress and the Treasury Department were assured through secret testimony given by DuPont in 1935-37 directly to Herman Oliphant, Chief Counsel for the Treasury Dept., that hempseed oil could be replaced with synthetic petrochemical oils made principally by DuPont.
Oliphant was solely responsible for drafting the Marijuana Tax Act that was submitted to Congress.9 (See complete story in Chapter 4, “The Last Days of Legal Cannabis.”)
Until about 1800, hempseed oil was the most consumed lighting oil in America and the world. From then until the 1870s, it was the second most consumed lighting oil, exceeded only by whale oil.