Document Type


Publication Date


Publication Citation

86 Kentucky Law Journal 1143 (1998)


In the wake of litigation over the responsibility of tobacco companies for harm caused by cigarettes and in the face of increased public hostility toward smoking, Kentucky's tobacco farmers are apprehensive about the future. While not all growers depend entirely on tobacco for their income, the potential shrinking of the tobacco market will have serious ramifications throughout the state. Some farmers are turning to organic vegetable farming, or to com and soybeans as alternative crops, but the potential of industrial hemp as an option remains uncertain. Touted by many as the answer to the tobacco farmer's quandary, industrial hemp remains an illegal crop under both federal' and state law Furthermore, it is not entirely clear how large a market exists for industrial hemp and whether it would be a profitable crop for Kentucky farmers.

This Note attempts to discern whether current laws should be changed to allow the cultivation of industrial hemp in Kentucky It begins with a discussion of the agronomy of industrial hemp and its relationship to marijuana m Part I. Part II addresses the environmental benefits that hemp offers. The current state of world markets and production of industrial hemp, along with estimates of profitability of Kentucky-grown hemp, is detailed in Part III. Part IV' explores the long history of industrial hemp globally, in the United States, and in Kentucky where it was a staple crop for many years. The current and potentially changing legal status of industrial hemp at the federal level, m Kentucky, and m other states is offered in Parts V, VI, and VII. Part VIII addresses the enforcement and public perception problems posed by legalizing industrial hemp given its ties to marijuana. Part IX concludes with a proposal for Kentucky as it explores possible futures for industrial hemp.