HEMP IN KENTUCKY
The Bluegrass State began growing hemp in the late 18th century, at least that is when the Anglo-Saxons first put it in the ground; there is evidence from textile fragments and historical record that the natives of North America grew hemp before Columbus.
Kentucky became the premier hemp growing state in the 19th century, as more and more agriculture shifted south and industrialisation took place in the north. In the 20th century, Kentucky hemp cultivation ceased, due in part to the 1937 laws making hemp difficult for farmers to grow.
Today a Kentucky hemp advocate, Gatewood Galbraith, famous for his many stands as candidate for state office, is running again, this time for governor, and will face off to five Democrat challengers in May. Galbraith also stands for gun rights, having featured on the front page of his autobiography with an M-60 machine gun. On perhaps a more positive note, he supports a higher minimum wage law and grants for education.
If Kentucky does succeed in re-legalising hemp, it will no doubt invigorate the economy. Presently tobacco is the major crop, and many tobacco farmers are complaining about being squeezed by the large cigarette companies. Growing hemp for food, fibre, energy and paper will be a welcome addition to the state's agriculture.
Galbraith opposes both parties, his own politics are both centrist and conservative, favouring less government and lower taxes. The hemp issue in many countries is being taken up from all sides; in some states, such as North Carolina, both the Democrat and the GOP senators support hemp farming, and in North Dakota, it is GOP house majority speaker David Monson who leads the crusade to re-legalise hemp.
Hemp, however, ought not to be a political issue, it is after all a plant, and does not vote. Hopefully the politicians will all realise this and work to the good of the people. Perhaps in Kentucky they can take a look at their history and see what it good for the state. The image above is of John Hopkins' book on hemp in Kentucky, and it can open the eyes of legislators to what hemp really is about.