Hemp has a long and storied history in Kentucky. During the late 19th century, famed statesman Henry Clay grew thousands of pounds of the crop at his estate in Lexington, earning him the nickname “the prince of hemp.” Since the federal prohibition of marijuana, hemp farmers and manufacturers lost a vital source of income because the two plants are genetically similar. It wasn’t until the passage of the 2014 Farm Bill that farmers were finally allowed to grow the crop again. Hemp has slowly been making a comeback in the United States, and Kentucky is leading the way. But questions remain about the equity, sustainability, and future of the broader cannabis industry.

Fall 2019