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Hemp struggles to gain viability as good

Posted on April 21, 2000

By Staff, Kernel Press, The University of Kentucky

Many know the benefits of hemp from reading the inside of Cypress Hill’s “Hits from the bong.” For those who weren’t ever into that or never did a report on hemp in high school, hemp is a weed that grows anywhere, yields fibers stronger than cotton and is illegal to grow in the United States.

It’s good for the earth because it doesn’t require heavy fertilizer or pesticide and serves as a great nutrient-enhancing crop to rotate with grains and vegetables. Kentucky was once a large producer of hemp.

A University of Kentucky by UK’s Center for Business and Economic Research said cultivating and processing hemp in Kentucky could bring up to 771 new jobs and $17.6 million in worker earnings in the current market.

Mark Berger, a UK economics professor and one of the study’s authors, told the Associated Press when the study was published that hemp is a viable crop. It can be used in paper products and textiles; as a fiberglass substitute; and as an oil in food, cosmetics and pharmaceuticals.

“We’re optimistic about the returns that can be earned from growing hemp,” he said, while at the same time cautioning that hemp is not a magic solution for farmers looking to get out of tobacco.

Hemp profits per acre could range from $220, for hemp grown for grain or straw production, to $600, for raising certified seed to be planted by other hemp growers, the University of Kentucky report said.

Copyright © 2000, Kernel Press, Inc. The University of Kentucky