Many were excited for the growth of hemp this year, since it’s the first time that they may legally grow the crop in seven decades, however, they have been incredibly disappointed and even reconsidering involvement. “Legal red tape” put a hiatus on the delivery of seeds and limited what they were able to do with the crops this year. Two participants, Wayne Smith and Randall Ledford, felt as if “they financed Tennessee’s industrial hemp experiment.”

Smith ended up receiving his orders from the state in June. Finally, he planted three pounds in an area on his farm. More recently, he cultivated ten pounds of seeds this month, however, he claims he would have produced much more if he had received the crops in April because that is $254 for a growing permit and was offered “70 cents per pound for his raw seeds, a total of $7.”

Here’s what he had to say: “I’m still pretty floored. I’m going to use the harvested seed to make oil and maybe sell it as a novelty item.”

Leford planted 27.5 pounds of seeds that he ordered from the state. He ended up harvesting 42 pounds and said that he had high hopes for his plants, at 7.5 feet, and being the tallest in the state. “Everybody’s so depressed,” he stated. “Unless something drastic happens, there’s no way I’ll do it again next year. There are just too many regulations, too much B-S.”

Let’s take a look at some reasons as to why he was so upset. Initially, none of the seeds he harvested were able to leave his property unless he takes the 70-cent deal. Ledford claims that he spoke to a couple of consumers, but would face “federal federal drug trafficking charges if he transports the seeds out of the state.” Ledford also needed to pay for two inspections of his plants, ($35 per hour) which implemented travel time. In addition to that, he had to pay $175 for each lab test to make sure he was not cultivating marijuana.

According to, Corinne Gould – Director of Communications for the Department of Agriculture – Tennessee is still gathering data and feedback from the pilot program farmers. All of this data is expected to report in November.

“Anecdotally, like the other crops in Tennessee, growers have had varying degrees of success,” she stated. “We’ve seen variation according to location, some areas have been dry, some wet, and we’ve also seen variation among individual producers.”

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