American Hemp Farmer: Adventures and Misadventures in the Cannabis Trade

Chelsea Green. Apr. 2020. 320p. ISBN 9781603589192. pap. $19.95. AGRI
The expansion of the hemp economy is a gold rush scenario, but journalist and hemp farmer Fine is passionate about a possible future in which farmers are the ones who benefit, and most important, in his view, this helps alleviate climate change. Part agronomy manual, part gonzo farm journalism, this book gives a strong grounding in the historical, legal, and economic realities of hemp and its applications. It is not a straightforward introduction, but rather it includes a number of lengthy sidebars and a large cast of recurring characters, such as the author’s herd of goats. Fine’s aim is to convince farmers and legislators not to repeat the mistakes of the past by allowing farmers to control more of the process from seed breeding, distribution, and processing, and much of his rhetorical approach is to tell readers about his own forays into those areas, with often comic results. Ultimately, the arguments are compelling and sometimes inspiring and the advice is practical.
VERDICT An essential book for the aspiring hemp farmer, there is much to consider here for anyone interested in organic farming, drug policy, and community organizing.
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