Industrial Hemp

Hemp Farmers Face Rocky Road in Diversifying Eastern Kentucky’s Economy

Oct 6, 2017
David Williams, a University of Kentucky Agronomist and Director of the Robinson Center for Appalachian Resource Sustainability in Quicksand, Ky., on Monday, September 25, 2017.
Brittany Greeson / The GroundTruth Project

As the number of coal mining jobs continues to decline in central Appalachia, hemp is getting a lot of attention as one way to diversify eastern Kentucky’s post-coal economy. But the region’s burgeoning hemp industry is also riddled with uncertainty. The lack of land suitable for growing hemp, and its association with marijuana pose some significant challenges.

On the Legislature Today, members of the House Finance Committee consider two bills that would help balance the 2018 budget, one to lower the overall sales tax rate while getting rid of some exemptions, the other to capture some dollars from the state's Road Fund and increase the beer barrel tax.

Across the rotunda in a Senate committee, members have advanced a bill to create a medical marijuana program in West Virginia, allowing doctors to prescribe the illegal drug for medicinal use.