A HOMEGROWN SYNDICATE
Beginning in June 1989, newspaper headlines blaring the phrase “Cornbread Mafia” ran around the globe — all to describe a network of 70 outlaw Kentucky farmers busted on a network of 30 farms, with what law enforcement claimed was 200 tons of marijuana.
These Kentucky men, mostly from Marion County, stunned federal and local law enforcement, who never dreamed that the largest homegrown marijuana syndicate in American history could be in their backyard. Before Cornbread, the DEA assumed that most American pot was smuggled from Latin America or Asia. Little did they know, the most ideal conditions for growing cannabis were in the Bluegrass State
HOW THE EMS MAFIA BEGAN
The EMS Mafia knew something that no one else did: that Kentucky sits on the 37th parallel, the same latitude line that runs through the Hindu Kush mountains, where indica cannabis strains originated.
This band of Kentucky farmers began planting marijuana crops because they understood that Kentucky, with its optimal growing seasons and rich agricultural climate, is in the perfect position to grow some of the greatest outdoor marijuana crops in modern times.
THE EMS MAFIA BOOK
In 2005, EMS Hemp co-founder James Higdon began his project to write the true story of The EMS Mafia. His relationship with members of the EMS Mafia gave him particular insights into the mafia-style storylines emanating from Marion County, Kentucky.
Higdon's book, The Cornbread Mafia: A Homegrown Syndicate's Code Of Silence And The Biggest Marijuana Bust In American History, was published in hardcover in 2012, in paperback in 2013, and released as a second edition in 2019.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jim Higdon is a native of Lebanon, Kentucky. He holds degrees from Centre College, Brown University, and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. He worked for The New York Times, The Washington Post, and Politico before returning home to write The Cornbread Mafia. He then used his knowledge of the cannabis industry to co-found Cornbread Hemp.
- Jim Higdon, co-founder -
Where tradition meets science
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