BY: QUENTIN STUCKEY
It’s high time (pun intended) that the global and legal scrutiny of cannabis comes to an effective end. Like so many things, we are conditioned to fear what we do not fully understand. At this point though, it is essentially common knowledge that cannabis is a healthier alternative to cracking open a six pack, useful in the treatment of physical and psychological conditions and overall not as deadly and threatening as it has been made out to be.
There is more to cannabis than merely being a conscious-altering drug and a natural medicine, a variety of cannabis which lacks the THC compound has been used for centuries as a natural, durable fibre. According to Hemp Basics.com, hemp is used for such items as clothing, housing, fuel, paper and is packed full of nutrients. Many farmers are beginning to realize the financial potential in growing and harvesting hemp. If we were to travel back to the post-Civil War era, the majority of US hemp cultivation came from the state of Kentucky. Nowadays however, tobacco is the leading plant across Kentucky farms, but as originally reported in an article by Natural News, a change is on the horizon.
For decades, tobacco was what farmers could rely on for its high demand which resulted in a steady financial value. But as quoted in the article, Real Farmacy.com sheds some light on the increased, agricultural interest of hemp: “As the tobacco market continues to decline and prices for grains and commodities remain depressed, farmers are looking for alternatives.” And this alternative is indeed hemp.
Hemp as a product has a higher value in terms of usage compared to tobacco, thus there is both a higher demand and higher financial gain for farmers struggling to find a new commodity. Hemp sales from the United States reached five hundred seventy million dollars in 2015, as reported by the Hemp Industries Association. In 2014, the United States created a bill which allowed state agricultural companies to research the processes involved in farming hemp.
As a result, a total of thirty three acres were planted in Kentucky that same year. In 2015 that number rose to 922 acres and managed to jump to an impressive 2,350 in 2016! With sales of hemp on the upswing and the vast amount of farm land being occupied by this miracle of nature, Kentucky is leading the way with their agricultural shift from tobacco to hemp. This will further end that tired, silly stigma surrounding cannabis and usher in a greater future for farmers worldwide.