Hemp farming is not new in Kentucky, but with a new focus on the now legal use of CBDs for medicinal purposes, it is expected to literally explode as an industry. With tourism being the third largest industry in the state, it’s interesting to look at how and why hemp would affect an already major source of revenue. Let’s take a look at what we know and what the analysts are forecasting for 2019.
A Long History in the State
Interestingly, the first crop of hemp in Kentucky was grown one year before the nation was born and was an important crop throughout colonial times. That was the year 1775. There is a historic marker located in Clark County that gives a brief history of hemp farming in the state. Although the first crop was grown during the time of the Revolution, it peaked during the years of 1840 through 1860. Hemp production actually peaked in 1850 when the value of the 40,000 tons grown were valued at $5,000,000. That is a huge sum by standards of the time. Dozens upon dozens of factories in Kentucky relied on hemp farming to produce such things as rope, twine, cotton bagging and oakum used to caulk ships. Unfortunately, it is said that reefer madness of the early 20th century stunted the state’s hemp farming and it wasn’t until recently that interest in the crop once again blossomed.
Why Hemp Farming Would Be of Interest in Kentucky
As mentioned above, Kentucky is really the first state in the nation known to have produced a hemp crop. With a long history of producing hemp for industrial purposes, many hemp farmers have the knowledge and experience of many generations of hemp farmers. There is really nothing different between the hemp grown for manufacturing and the hemp grown to be processed to yield a pure CBD isolate. Imagine that Kentucky was once referred to as the world’s “hemp capital” but that honor became rather dubious when many people saw hemp as a dangerous drug. It was through lack of knowledge and the promulgation of misleading information that it became feared and often on the verge of being outlawed altogether.
A Look at Kentucky’s Tourist Industry
Just three short years ago, tourism in Kentucky was said to have contributed $24.6 billion to the state’s economy. Now compare that to the potential to realize $417 billion from hemp like Colorado nets and it could be that hemp may even surpass tourism as an industry. However, it is forecast that tourists will want to view the history of hemp in the United States and so Kentucky is gearing up for a record-setting year of tourism.
Combined revenues from the two industries just may help put Kentucky back on the map financially. In an area of the nation that has been plagued by poverty, tourism and hemp may provide the boost in revenue the state has been hoping for. Whether you want to view Kentucky blue grass for the first time or another kind of grass, hemp, this is the year Kentucky has been waiting for. Join the curious and visit Kentucky this year to be part of the ongoing history of hemp in the state.