Where tobacco once flourished on Gator Williams’ North Carolina farm, he now plants 1,380 acres of cannabis.
Williams isn’t growing marijuana but hemp, a kind of cannabis plant that offers the medicinal benefits of pot without the high. At his Lazy Gator’s Hemp Farm in Kinston, he’s breeding seed lines, experimenting with cultivation techniques and making products such as skin creams and gummy candies.
Like a growing number of struggling U.S. farmers, Williams is betting on hemp as an entirely new cash crop. Lumped in with its intoxicating cousin for decades under federal laws restricting controlled substances, Congress is on the verge of fully legalizing hemp under a new farm bill.
Top photo courtesy of Davido/Adobe Stock