Utilized by ancient civilizations across the globe, hemp is reported to have more than 25,000 uses. Known to be exceptionally strong and flexible while providing medicinal qualities, hemp has been used in the production of textiles, paper, currency and food, to name just a few.
As a form of cannabis, hemp is free of the psychoactive compound, THC, making it ineffective as an inebriant. However, the confusion with its cousin marijuana, led to a knee-jerk reaction of making its growth, production, and use illegal throughout most countries in the world. In the US, the production of hemp was banned at a federal level in 1970.
Remaining illegal in Kentucky until 2014, the production of industrial hemp is now making a resurgence. Kentucky farmers can confidently grow, process and distribute hemp and hemp-based products. Serving a wide variety of industries, such as health, construction, automotive, fashion, veterinary care, consumer goods and more, hemp farmers hope to become leaders in the nationwide hemp industry.
Though opportunities exist for farmers and processors around the nation, challenges remain. Still associated with marijuana in the minds of many consumers, the sale and use of hemp are limited by the erroneous belief that it is a drug. Education is key to a long, healthy and sustainable industry where hemp farms of all levels of production can thrive.