Local hemp group helps farmers sign up to grow day ahead of new program deadline

After nearly losing his life in a head-on collision last year, Rick Gash is lucky to be alive.

"I had head injuries and fractured femur and so a lot of medical issues,” he recalled.

He was prescribed oxycodone for his injuries, but it soon took a toll on his life and marriage.

"I became somebody that my wife didn't like anymore,” he said.

That's when his wife Stacy started looking for natural ways to help and found hemp, something that soon changed both of their lives.

"He's back to himself and starting this whole new venture; that's how much it changed us,” said Stacy.

That venture was starting the Hemp Development Group, a group that's researched and fought to allow Kansas farmers to grow hemp.

"Our food is sought after worldwide,” he said. “Kansas food is sought after, wheat, corn. If they seek us for that because of our ground they're gonna seek us for our hemp because of the same properties."

And now that it's legal, the couple is trying to help others get signed up to grow.

"Probably one of the big driving factors behind all of us, or for most people, is the economic side of it, not only for the farmers or the producers but for the entire state,” said Kansas Farmer Nathan ReQua.

Hemp comes from the cannabis family and can be used to make several different things, including rope, plastic and paper.

"The United States flag was made out of Hemp,” said Rick.

But it differs from marijuana in its look and biological makeup, Facts the Gash's are working to spread.

“I've already talked to schools about an educational program,” said Stacy.

Rick added, "If there's money there and it's fun and you have all of these opportunities, I think our kids are gonna wanna stay home."

The deadline to apply for the program is March 1st.

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