A new local company named AppalachiCanna held their first Hemp Expo to help educate on the worth of resources to the region.

Friday and Saturday AppalachiCanna Fest drew interest from vendors all across the region with companies coming from West Virginia, Ohio and Illinois to promote and educate Eastern Kentucky farmers on hemp, bees, crafts,  and organics. 

“The reason we personally started it is because we saw farmers being taken advantage of by big companies from out of state,” said Max Hammond, the Chief Executive Officer of AppalachiCanna. “A lot of farmers didn’t get paid this year for hemp. A lot of farmers didn’t know the ins and outs of hemp and how to sell their products once they grew it. We’re here to fill that void and help those people.”

Throughout the event there were speakers talking about the pros and cons of hemp and how to handle it. 

Hammond believes that hemp and other organic cash crops can revitalize the Eastern Kentucky economy and replace the money that was lost when tobacco in the region died out.

“The purpose of this is for the people of Appalachia, specifically the farmers of Appalachia, to realize the worth, to realize the value, to realize the resources that we have here,” said Hammond. “We have to realize all that glitters is not gold. We have valuable people, we have valuable land and we have the know-how to make some good things happen for our region.”

The 2019 Kentucky Department of Agriculture report on those with hemp licenses stated that the only license holder in Rowan County was Morehead State University. 

However, Timothy Smith with the Hemp Smith believes there is probably more because the deadline for license applications doesn’t end until March 15, 2020.

Hammond believes that all Eastern Kentucky needs to help build itself back up is located here already.

“We’re all born and bred Appalachian and that’s where our hearts are,” said Hammond. “That’s where our friends are, our families are and that’s where we know the treasure to be so why look elsewhere.”