Planting Hemp in Kentucky

by Friends Of The Planet

Welcome to Planet News! Today, we'll dive into one of our favorite topics, planting hemp!

Actor and environmental activist Woody Harrelson made headlines in 1996 when he was arrested for planting four hemp seeds in Kentucky. At the time, it was illegal to grow hemp in the United States, despite the fact that the plant has numerous industrial and agricultural uses and is a highly sustainable crop.

Harrelson's act of civil disobedience was intended to draw attention to the absurdity of hemp prohibition and to promote the plant's many benefits. Since then, much has changed in the legal landscape surrounding hemp, and Harrelson's activism has played a part in that evolution.

Hemp is a variety of the cannabis plant that is grown specifically for industrial purposes, such as textiles, paper, and building materials. Unlike its cousin marijuana, hemp contains very low levels of THC, the psychoactive compound that produces a "high" when consumed. Because of this, hemp has no recreational value and is not used as a drug.

Despite this fact, hemp was illegal to grow in the United States for decades due to its classification as a Schedule I controlled substance under federal law. This made it virtually impossible for American farmers to grow hemp, even though the crop had been a staple of American agriculture for centuries.

In the 1990s, a movement to legalize hemp gained momentum, and Harrelson was one of its most visible advocates. In addition to his famous planting incident, he was a frequent spokesperson for hemp legalization and was involved in the founding of the Hemp Industries Association, a trade group that advocates for the use of hemp as a sustainable resource.

Thanks in part to the efforts of Harrelson and others, hemp was finally legalized in the United States with the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill. This legislation removed hemp from the list of controlled substances and allowed American farmers to grow the crop once again. Today, hemp is cultivated in many states across the country, including Kentucky, where Harrelson planted his famous seeds.

The benefits of hemp as a sustainable resource are numerous. The plant grows quickly and requires relatively little water and fertilizer, making it an ideal crop for regions with limited resources. It can also be used to make a wide range of products, including textiles, paper, bioplastics, and even fuel. Hemp is also a carbon-negative crop, meaning that it sequesters more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere than it emits during cultivation and processing.

By planting those four hemp seeds in Kentucky over two decades ago, Woody Harrelson helped to kickstart a movement that has since transformed the legal and cultural landscape surrounding hemp in the United States. Today, thanks in part to his activism and the efforts of others like him, hemp is recognized as a valuable and sustainable resource with enormous potential for economic and environmental benefit.

Friends Of The Planet are proud supporters of industrial hemp and will be releasing hemp products in the near future! Click here to search our current hemp lineup.