Move Over Colorado: Tennessee’s Hemp Supply is Thriving

August 27, 2020


When you think about CBD and the hemp industry, you may think of Colorado first.  Colorado legislation paved the way for the cultivation and distribution nationwide.  So much has been written about how perfect the weather and the soil are in Colorado to produce the finest quality hemp that results in the highest quality CBD.

However, Colorado isn’t the only state that can brag about their hemp. Tennessee is a quickly becoming a popular cultivator of high-quality hemp and CBD products.  The Tennessee Department of Agriculture, The Tennessee Hemp Industries Association, and the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture all play key roles in the hemp industry and growing Tennessee’s hemp supply.

The Tennessee Department of Agriculture

The role of the Tennessee Department of Agriculture is to coordinate the rules and regulations of the state’s hemp production program.  This department is best to contact for questions regarding permitting, growing areas, and rules and regulations.

Tennessee Hemp Industries Association

The Tennessee Hemp Industries Association is a non-profit organization that provides support to Tennessee hemp farmers and businesses.  They play a key role in growing the hemp industry by giving information regarding where to find hemp seeds, how to partner with nearby growers, and where you and find a processor.

University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture

The University of Tennessee Extension plays a key role in the research and evidence-based knowledge about agriculture and natural resources, including hemp and how it can improve people’s quality of life.  The University of Tennessee can assist with the best way to plant hemp, answer questions regarding soil, and how much water hemp plants should get.

The History of Tennessee’s Hemp Supply

Hemp has been an important crop throughout the history Tennessee.  In the 1600s, hemp had become an important part of the Colonial economy and was used to produce essential products such as cloth, canvas, sacks and paper. In fact, the first drafts of the Declaration of Independence were written on paper made from hemp.

The history of hemp production in Tennessee dates to the early 1800s with the arrival of pioneer families. Donald Winters, in his Tennessee Farming, quotes an East Tennessee report from the 1840s: "Hemp grows luxuriantly upon our River Bottom Lands, but has hitherto been neglected; although it is believed to be more profitable than any other crop that can be raised." Winters writes that during the War with Mexico, the state legislature petitioned the U.S. government to help promote hemp production in Tennessee. According to the 1850 U.S. Census, Tennessee produced 454 tons of dew-rotted hemp and 141 tons of water-rotted hemp. These methods refer to the way that the components of the stalk were broken down and prepared for processing.

Tennessee's first commissioner of agriculture, Joseph Killebrew, in his exhaustive Resources of Tennessee published in 1874, reported that hemp was widely grown throughout Middle Tennessee and several counties were known to have suitable soil for hemp farming.

After World War II, the hemp industry began its decline because of new laws aimed at regulating marijuana until all cannabis was eventually banned in the United States.  Thanks to the Farm Bills of 2014 and 2018, hemp and CBD were officially removed from the banned substance list and able to be used and sold throughout the country. 

To get the most out of Tennessee’s hemp supply, be sure to stop by or visit any one of our Tennessee retail locations.