Reintroducing Industrial Hemp

Lexington, KY The Hemp Revolution, a documentary film about the multi-faceted hemp plant, will be shown at 6:45 p.m. on Monday, September 27th, in the downtown Lexington Public Library.

After the screening, Kentucky State Senator Joey Pendleton, D-Hopkinsville, along with Craig Lee, a member of the Kentucky Commission on Industrial Hemp, and Republican gubernatorial candidate, Phil Moffett, will address issues regarding industrial hemp’s potential for Kentucky farms and businesses.

Another Kentucky gubernatorial candidate, Gatewood Galbraith, a long time advocate of industrial hemp, appears in the film, which features many scientists, farmers, economists and other professionals and activists expressing observations and views. The sponsor of the showing, The Good Foods Market, offers the documentary as part of a monthly film series dedicated to issues of health, the environment and human rights.

Produced in 1996, The Hemp Revolution takes a broad view of the plant, which has two distinct profiles: industrial hemp and marijuana. Industrial hemp is not a drug crop because of its extremely low THC content, whereas the marijuana varieties have THC at levels which put them on the drug schedule. The Good Foods Market and the scheduled speakers all make it clear that they are only advocating industrial hemp, and the film concerns itself in large part with industrial hemp.

Sen. Pendleton has represented the state’s third district, comprised of Christian, Logan and Todd Counties, since 1992. The district economy is largely driven by agriculture, much of it very diversified. Pendleton says some big farms want to bring even more diversity into the area’s agricultural portfolio with the cultivation of industrial hemp. Among those cited by Pendleton as holding a keen interest in hemp is Phillip Garnett of the 20,000 acre Garnett Farms.

“Eighty-five percent of hemp raised in Canada is exported to the U.S.,” says Pendleton. He questions why American farmers can’t be serving that market. “We’re looking at what I think would be a four or five hundred million dollar industry (for Kentucky.) We raised it (hemp) during the war years (World War II) in Western Kentucky. It’s proven that we can raise it and raise it well.” He points out that bio-fuel programs have been criticized for diverting food crops to fuel production, as with corn for ethanol. “Hemp produces twice as much ethanol as corn per acre,” he said. He also sees the potential to draw more manufacturing jobs and corporate offices to Kentucky with the presence of industrial hemp crops in the state.

Since the early 1990s, Craig Lee has been active organizing, lobbying, speaking, and educating for the reintroduction of industrial hemp into Kentucky agriculture. He will bring his stories and some products to add to a hemp product display table that the Good Foods Market will set up. Terri Fann, Good Foods board member, says that a display table of hemp products will include car parts, plastic, food, building materials, oil (both fuel and food), clothing and paper products.

Phil Moffett, recently added as a speaker to the event, is making industrial hemp a major issue in his gubernatorial campaign. He will speak about his perspectives on hemp.

The presentation will run until 9 p.m. and will include an open discussion.