Industrial hemp has been a rich part of America’s history. It first began being an important crop to our society early in the seventeenth century. In 1775 the first recorded crop was grown in Kentucky, located in Danville. For centuries proceeding, hemp was Kentucky’s largest cash crop and the producer of 90 percent of America’s hemp, consumed largely by the US military during wartime for products like rope, canvas, parachutes, and uniforms. When hemp became negatively associated with its cousin, marijuana, the industrial hemp market was extinguished by legislation restricting the growth of industrial hemp. In the search for alternative crops to generate revenue for farmers, legislators began advocating for the reintroduction of hemp into the United States economy. With over 50,000 uses for industrial hemp ranging from textiles to building materials, hemp is a crop that offers a lot of potential. Kentucky lawmakers such as Mitch McConnell, Rand Paul, and James Comer were key players in the 2014 Farm Bill that allows the industrial crop to be grown for research purposes only. Kentucky has once again taken the lead on industrial hemp by assembling a comprehensive and robust pilot program researching the production and processing requirements for this crop. Kentucky is working with law enforcement, trying to reach a solution for distinguishing hemp from marijuana. Kentucky, among many other states, is hopeful the federal government will lift the restrictions on producing and selling hemp to provide a new economic opportunity to the agricultural community.

Semester/Year of Award

Fall 12-12-2016


Joeph Gershtenson

Mentor Professional Affiliation

Government and Economics

Access Options

Restricted Access Thesis

Document Type

Bachelor Thesis

Degree Name

Honors Scholars

Degree Level




Department Name when Degree Awarded

Management, Marketing, and International Business

IRB Approval Number (if applicable)