In December of 2018 another passage of the Farm Bill opened the door for even more growers and sellers of hemp in Tennessee.
Hemp, which is closely related to marijuana but has no psychoactive effect, has been legal to grow in Tennessee for a little more than five years through a closely monitored pilot program.
Hemp has been an important crop throughout the history of the United States. By the mid-1600s, hemp had become a vital part of the colonial economy and was used to produce rope, cloth, canvas, sacks and paper. In fact, the first drafts of the Declaration of Independence were penned on hemp paper.
Although industrial hemp contains very little of the hallucinogenic properties of marijuana -- production and processing declined after World War II with the passage of state and federal laws aimed at regulating the narcotic varieties of cannabis.
"There are so many things you can do with this plant, it's remarkable,” says Llew Boyd. “And I think that this plant will become a commodity and replace things like cotton. For many different reasons, it's more economical to grow and it produces higher yields of textiles at a lower cost."