History of CBD and Cannabis: Kentucky
Since the mid eighteenth century, one of the most major industries in Kentucky involved the cultivation of industrial hemp for fiber.
Though hemp is often conflated with cannabis, the plant only contains trace amounts of the psychoactive substance THC and is very high in cannabidiol, or CBD. Many industries relied on hemp since it was a nutritious food source and could make strong composite materials.
Although hemp production was massively popular, American cultivation diminished sharply after World War II as war demand faded. Additionally, drug scares and public misperception went a long way towards stamping out the entire industry.
Despite backlash, areas in Danville, Kentucky remained huge cultivators of industrial hemp. Nearly all domestic hemp was produced in the region, due to the area’s extremely favorable climate and soil conditions that were well-suited for hemp growth.
By the thirties, some residents were concerned that hemp was being used as a narcotic. Though industrial hemp was never fully stamped out, public concern went a long way towards causing increasing restrictions around all Cannabis sativa plants.
Cannabis, CBD, and Kentucky
Many media outlets expressed surprise when Governor Steve Beshear signed a law permitting patients to use THC-free CBD under a doctor’s recommendation. Few understood the years of work that it took to get the law on the Senate floor in the first place.
For years, clinicians at the University of Kentucky demonstrated the beneficial effect CBD could have on the treatment of epilepsy. It was only after these studies became widely publicized that local government felt forced to respond, especially after the passage of federal laws legalizing hemp.
Even with the law in effect, no specific provisions concerning legal sale or production of CBD were outlined. However, many experts believe that nationwide law provides adequate protection towards hemp-extract sellers and growers.
Following the legal battle for CBD, a medical cannabis bill made its way to the legislature in the 2015 session. House Bill 3 and Senate Bill 40 proposed making medical cannabis completely legal and prescribable in the state; however, both failed to pass outside of committee hearings.
Many believe that financial donors went a long way towards suppressing the vote. Namely, Kentucky Baptist Convention and the National Marijuana Initiative vowed to oppose any future medical and recreational bills through aggressive lobbying.
The state of Kentucky occupies one of the most interesting positions in relationship to cannabis, hemp, and CBD. As a major producer of hemp, many residents wonder whether political officials will be swayed by the enormous economic opportunities that cannabis presents.