8th – 6th century BC
The Scythians, ancestors of the Slavic tribes, learn to grow hemp and consume its nutritious seeds.

The stems of this plant are used in making baskets and ropes. Later, peasants of Kievan Rus borrow these useful skills in growing hemp and producing various products from it.

8th century BC
China invents the world’s first paper made of hemp fibres.
Second half of the 16th century – 18th
During the reign of Ivan the Terrible, hemp becomes a part of the everyday lives of Russian peasants.

Hemp is used to make hemp paper and fabrics for clothing, and hemp oakum is used in the construction of wooden houses. Hemp ropes and cords were treated with tar to protect them from rotting.

18th century
Peter the Great initiates the development of hemp and flax crops in Russia.

Петр I положил начало развитию коноплеводства в России, издав в 1715 году указ о расширении «Великий государь указал: во всех губерниях размножить льняные и пеньковые промыслы (например как обыкновенно промышляют льном во Пскове и в Вязниках, а пенькою во Брянску и в других городах), и для того приготовляли б земли и прибавливали бы севу на всякой год. Например, кто сеял четверть, тот бы прибавил четверик, ежели возможно и больше, а где тому необыкновенны, как лен и пеньку учреждать, дабы обучали крестьян; и о том объявить в народе, что оной прибавок севу поведено иметь для всенародной пользы и им поживления.»
Ранее в марте 1706 года выходит указ о наказании смертной казнью купцов, которые примешивают в свои товары испорченное пеньковолокно или добавляют камни для увеличения его веса.
При Петре I Россия становится мировым лидером по производству конопли, а государство получает безоговорочную монополию на продажу этого растения. К 1740 году западные страны закупают у Российской империи 80% всех веревочных снастей и такелажа для судов. К концу века наша страна экспортировала более 37 тыс. тонн пеньковолокна за границу.

Late 19th century – early 20th century
Hemp production is in decline.

Hemp production is in decline due to development of the light industry and the advent of inexpensive cotton affordable for even poor peasants. Only 139 factories were still using hemp, while the number of cotton factories increased to 400.

20th century, 1930s-1960s
The Soviet government sees new potential in industrial hemp.

The Soviet authorities see new potential in industrial hemp, which leads to a revival of hemp farming. A new level of hemp cultivation is achieved through the production of hemp harvesters. Due to the hard work of breeders and agricultural workers, the highest yields of industrial hemp are achieved. In 1934, the hemp acreages were 598 thousand ha, while in 1936 this number rises to 680 thousand ha, accounting for 4/5 of the world’s acreage. 44.9 thousand tonnes of hemp fibre and 6.3 million litres of hemp oil are produced. Unprecedented successes in the cultivation of industrial hemp lead to the establishment in 1931 of the Institute of Bast Crops in Glukhov (Ukraine). The research institute breeds new varieties of common hemp with tall, strong stems and extremely low levels of psychotropic substances. Since the end of World War II, hemp oil and hemp cloth have been among the most important export items of the Soviet Union. The sheaves of hemp immortalised in the sculptural composition of the ‘Friendship of the Peoples’ fountain built in 1954 at the Exhibition of Achievements of the National Economy (VDNKh) in Moscow remind us of the great era of Soviet hemp farming.

30 March 1961
The Soviet Union signs the UN Convention on Narcotic Drugs.

The Soviet Union signs the UN Convention on Narcotic Drugs, which declares that hemp is a narcotic plant subject to eradication. The hemp acreages rapidly decrease, and although in 1976 the acreages of this crop in the Soviet Union amounted to 136 thousand ha (out of the world’s 421 thousand), industrial hemp is in an obvious decline.

1990s to present
Beginning of the second revival of hemp farming in Russia.

Beginning of the second revival of hemp farming in Russia and in the world. In 1995, the Chuvash Agricultural Research Institute develops the Central Russian variety called Diana with a THC content of 0.04 %. In 2005, the Penza Agricultural Research Institute registers the most popular variety to date, Surskaya, in demand by the majority of currently existing Russian farms.

Establishment of varieties of narcotic plants permitted for cultivation for industrial purposes, requirements for such varieties and conditions for their cultivation.

On 20 July 2007, the Russian Government issues its Decree No. 460 ‘On Establishment of Varieties of Narcotic Plants Permitted for Cultivation for Industrial Purposes, Requirements for Such Varieties and Conditions for Their Cultivation’ which resolved the disagreements between agricultural producers and regulatory authorities and served as an impetus to the gradual recovery of the hemp industry. Pursuant to the Decree, cultivation of the drug-free hemp varieties included in the State Register of Breeding Achievements is permitted in Russia.