By Larry Penkava [email protected] Twitter: @larrypenkavaCT
ASHEBORO — Harvest time came Thursday on Waylon Saunders’ farm. It was unique in that the crop he grew was banned in the United States 80 years ago.
It was hemp and it was back.
There were no huge harvesters working the fields. Instead, workers were cutting individual plants. Then, wearing rubber gloves, they used shears to trim buds from the stems. The buds were to be processed to remove seeds and essential oils for commercial use.
The plants and leaves look much like marijuana and, indeed, they are related to cannabis sativa. Hemp has made a comeback and that’s being felt in Randolph County and North Carolina’s Tobacco Belt. Asheboro’s own Bob Crumley is a driving force in that comeback.
He traces his interest in hemp to three friends who died of cancer — Bill Boyd, “Poochie” Cox and Vickie Burgess. Crumley began looking for ways to prevent and treat cancer.
That’s when he came across the benefits of hemp.
“It was outlawed in 1937,” he said of the period when marijuana and