Hemp’s Potential to Revitalize West Virginia Economy
New Frontier Analysts
Our data scientists drill deep with rigorous analytics to provide insight into key trends and market opportunities. We track the state of cannabis and its regulation in all major legal markets.
By New Frontier Analysts
In West Virginia, the return of hemp comes at a time of decline in energy extract and coal mining. At a half-acre farm in Parkersburg, W.Va, owner Dave Hawkins has already begun seeing his plants sprout after three days of being planted. Hawkins is among other West Virginia farmers that will provide their hemp to be studied by Susanna Wheeler, a master’s agronomy student at West Virginia University. Another project of Hawkins’s will be studied by Agri Carb Electric Corporation, which hopes to provide technology solutions using hemp-based carbon applications.
The data collected will play an important role in helping state lawmakers understand hemp’s potential to become a major cash crop. During World War II, hemp was regarded as a critical resource that was produced up to 150 million pounds in 1943. Hemp’s usages range from being carbonized into graphene, which can later be used to develop high-capacity, compact batteries without the need for metals. Former state delegate, Mike Manypenny, has been discussing with Polymer Alliance Zone for hemp to be used as a bioplastic. Other usages go as far turning the plant varieties to create malt used in brewing beer.
For Hawkins, Manypenny and the other West Virginia hemp farmers, the opportunities hemp can provide could greatly aid the depleting job market within the state. If the research provides valuable data on the varying uses of hemp, lawmakers will be able to use that information to pass hemp legislation as a cash crop and for more farmers to grow it without as many restrictions. More importantly, hemp will pose as great job creator and economic driver in a state that has relied too heavily on the coal mining industry.