By BRENDA S. EDWARDS
Hemp has been a crop in Kentucky since 1775 — 17 years before Kentucky became the first state west of the Appalachian Mountains.
This area became the nation’s leading hemp-producing state in the mid-19th century with peak production of 40,000 tons in 1950, according to the state Department of Agriculture website.
Hemp production declined after the Civil War and almost all of the nation’s hemp was grown in the Bluegrass region of Kentucky.
Federal legislation passed in 1938 outlawed production of hemp. The U.S. production began again during World War II as part of the war efforts, but fell again after the war and ended in 1958.
First crop raised in Danville
Archibald McNeil, one of the first settlers here, has been credited with raising the first crop on the banks of Clark’s Creek in Danville, according to an article in The Kentucky Advocate’s 100th edition in June 1965.