Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design


Agricultural and Resource Economics

Committee Chair

Katie Jones

Committee Co-Chair

Chris Haddox

Committee Member

Beth Newcome


Industrial hemp is an herbaceous, annual plant from the cannabis sativa family. It is highly desirable due to its end uses, adaptability to climates for farming, ease of growth, and overall profitability. Its versatile nature provides a valuable source of raw materials for fibers, oil, seed, and food. A renewable fiber, industrial hemp returns nitrogen into the soil after it the plant has been harvested and plowed into the field. The crop was mistakenly placed on Schedule 1 of the Controlled Substances list in the 1970s due to its species relation to marijuana. Industrial hemp has been restricted until several years ago when states, including West Virginia, allowed it to be grown for research, commercial, and pilot programs. West Virginia, a state coping with unemployment and needing an economic boost, has since approved industrial hemp and planted its first crop in 2016. The purpose of this study is to explore the experiences and perceptions of West Virginia industrial hemp stakeholders. To better understand these experiences, semi-structured interviews were coupled with a mind map. Participants were gathered through snowball sampling from the West Virginia Farmer's Cooperative. The study provides a source of information to new growers, educators, politicians and others advocating or curious about attitudes and experiences towards industrial hemp in West Virginia. Of interest, may be the barriers to hemp's expansion in the West Virginia context that emerged from this study.