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An ongoing series of informational entries

 The History of HEMP Farming in Kentucky

The first hemp crop in Kentucky was raised near Danville in 1775. Kentucky was the greatest producer of U.S. hemp in the 19th and 20th centuries, with thousands of acres of hemp in production. By the early 1800's, the bluegrass region of the state had become a major center for hemp production and exportation. A surplus in seed had led to a surplus of hemp fiber, so Kentuckians began to manufacture hempen goods. In 1850, the Kentucky reached peak hemp production at 40,000 tons worth $5 million. During the 1850s, the industry declined until the Civil War, which brought a halt to all American hemp production. After the war, slavery had been abolished, and hemp farmers and manufacturers in Kentucky found it difficult to find or pay for the intense amount of labor hemp crops required in the field or factory. Lack of mechanized processing equipment, and continued reliance on the old "hemp brake," made Kentucky hemp producers less efficient than other states that adopted more innovative machinery. Perhaps the biggest deterrer to the industry was the continued reliance and adoption of imported or synthetic fibers by the Southern and New England states. As a result, Kentucky hemp production fluctuated drastically during the end of the 19th century.

Kentucky Legislation and HEMP  

Kentucky has set in place some of the most advanced pieces of legislation protecting the industrial hemp production taking place under the 2018 Farm Bill. As one of the first states to introduce hemp legislation, Kentucky has led the way for the crop's comeback on both a state and federal level. The Kentucky Department of Agriculture oversees all hemp production in the state under the Hemp Pilot Program, through which growers and processors must receive a license to handle raw hemp materials. 

After nearly fifty years of prohibition in the United States, hemp production is finally legal. The 2014 Farm Bill paved the way for the return of hemp production for research and development, which led to the passing of the Hemp Farming Act included in the 2018 Farm Bill. The Hemp Farming Act, secured by Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY), removed hemp (varieties of Cannabis Sativa L. with a delta-9 tetrahydrocannabidiol [THC] concentration of 0.3 or less on a dry weight basis) from the list of controlled substances.

KY SB 50 was passed in the Kentucky General Assembly during the legislature's 2013 session and took effect in the summer of 2013. Its goal was to help Kentucky move to the forefront of industrial hemp production and commercialization of hemp products, and to create a regulatory framework for hemp production should the government lift its federal ban

Knowledge is Everything

Cannabis, HEMP and Marijuana

Cannabis, Hemp, and Marijuana are not the same thing.

Cannabis is a family of plants with two primary classifications — Indica and Sativa. While marijuana can be considered a member of either the Indica or Sativa families, Hemp is a member of the Cannabis Sativa family.  

Cannabis contains a variety of different compounds called Cannabinoids, two of rich, and the most dominant are Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and Cannabidiol (CBD).  Both Cannabinoids have shown to provide profound benefits to the human body; however, THC induces psychoactive effects (gets the user “high”), while CBD does not contain any psychoactive properties.   When comparing Hemp vs Marijuana, this is a huge distinction; while Hemp contains a very low concentration of THC (0.3% or less), Marijuana is abundant in THC with concentrations between 15% to 40%.

Health Benefits Associated with  HEMP Seeds

Hemp seeds are a complete source of protein, providing all nine essential amino acids.  HEMP seeds are rich in essential nutrients and studies suggest that other benefits from HEMP seeds are unsaturated fats.  HEMP seeds are rich in Omega 3 and Omega 6, they are packed with protein and contain a host of nutrient rich minerals, vitamins and fiber.  HEMP seeds aid in a healthy digestion and improves the health of hair, skin and nails.