Hemp

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

About 50 years ago, Martin Luther King Jr. began a movement to unite people of all colors and creeds in what was called the Poor People's Campaign. We’ll hear the latest in how that movement is being revived today.

We’ll also hear about experiments in Pennsylvania that are trying to bring back bats populations that have been plagued by a deadly fungus.

And the U.S. Senate Agriculture Committee has passed its version of the Farm Bill with Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s provisions to remove hemp from a list of Schedule 1 controlled substances.

Much of Appalachia’s economy has rested on the boom and bust cycles of industries like coal and manufacturing for decades. It’s true that these industries have long put bread on the Appalachian table, but as those industries have faded in recent decades, jobs have grown scarce. 

So are there industries that might one day provide more financial stability to the region? This week on Inside Appalachia, we learn more about some unexpected and unique ways Appalachians are thinking outside the box to earn money, like growing industrial hemp, installing solar panels and even growing tea.

Does Hemp Have a Place in West Virginia?

Mar 27, 2017
West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, we take a look at hemp's place in the state. Also Vice President Mike Pence pays a visit to Putnam County. And the West Virginia House has a new budget proposal.

On the Legislature Today, members of the House Finance Committee consider two bills that would help balance the 2018 budget, one to lower the overall sales tax rate while getting rid of some exemptions, the other to capture some dollars from the state's Road Fund and increase the beer barrel tax.

Across the rotunda in a Senate committee, members have advanced a bill to create a medical marijuana program in West Virginia, allowing doctors to prescribe the illegal drug for medicinal use.

Martin Valent / West Virginia Legislative Photography

Each legislative session, the state’s Constitutional Officers, or the heads of government offices who are elected by the people, bring their priorities to lawmakers and ask for support for various legislative changes.

This year, newly elected Commissioner of Agriculture Kent Leonhardt is hoping to change the structure of government, expand a growing program that’s been controversial in some parts of the country, and incentivize the purchasing of West Virginia-grown products. 

Carla Whitee Ford / New South Media

Hemp, known in the scientific community as cannabis sativa, is a cousin to the more commonly known marijuana, but unlike its medicinally and recreationally used relative, hemp does not contain any THC- a mind-altering ingredient. 

So, throughout the nation's history, hemp has been used more practically. It's often turned into fibers used in fabrics or rope or pressed into oils, but the plant itself is still considered a schedule one drug, meaning law enforcement treats it just like they would heroin or Ecstasy.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, Managing Editor of the magazine West Virginia Living Zack Harold discussing his latest article, "High Hopes for a New Cash Crop," focused on the state's budding hemp industry.  The article appears in the latest edition of Morgantown Magazine and he joined Ashton Marra to discuss it reporting.