The world learned about the "Cornbread Mafia" in June 1989, when federal prosecutors revealed at a press conference that 70 men in this group were responsible for growing nearly 200 tons of marijuana.
The 70 outlaw farmers, all Kentucky men, had been caught on 30 farms across 10 midwestern states. Federal drug enforcement officials were shocked to learn about the size of this domestic marijuana syndicate. Before Cornbread, the DEA believed that the majority of pot used in America was smuggled from Latin America or Asia. They had no idea the best cannabis was grown in the ideal conditions in the middle of the Bluegrass State.
The Cornbread Mafia started when Kentucky boys returned home as veterans of the war in Vietnam with the knowledge of the value of cannabis, which was growing wild in the Kentucky fencerows. By crossbreeding these local varieties with cannabis seeds brought from southeast Asia, the Cornbread growers created strains of cannabis that flourished in Kentucky.
The marijuana crops grew with such success the Cornbread Mafia became perhaps the largest illegal cannabis operation in modern times. This book chronicles not just these outlaw cannabis growers, but the rural Catholic culture that helped cultivate this network of secret farmers and the code of silence that protected them.
The South's "cartel." This true tale of the rise of the Kentucky Pot Barons, is just plain incredible, and is begging to be made into a movie. The scope, ingenuity, and depth of their renegade rebel operation just boggles the mind. This real account is the stuff of legends. If you enjoy reading about outlaws, cartels, or just plain American badasses, this is the book for you. I can't wait for someone to make this into a movie.
★★★★★Gerard M. St-cyr
Awesome book! I think anyone from a small town can relate to this, people who know someone who knew someone type of thing. It is a good book, I am from the area the book is mainly written about. I do believe it's more of a small town, close neighbors type of reader who can relate.. Prohibition fascinates me, this book did as well!
This chronicles a real life "A Country Boy Can Survive". Just like alcohol prohibition, the marijuana prohibition was and is highly unsuccessful. After living on the edge of this area and reading this story I have a greater understanding of rural Kentucky and have a better understanding of the why things are the way they are. Its a great read.
Author James Higdon—whose relationship with Johnny Boone, currently a federal fugitive, made him the first journalist subpoenaed under the Obama administration—takes readers back to the 1970s and ’80s and the clash between federal and local law enforcement and a band of Kentucky farmers with moonshine and pride in their bloodlines. By 1989 the task force assigned to take down men like Johnny Boone had arrested sixty-nine men and one woman from busts on twenty-nine farms in ten states, and seized two hundred tons of pot. Of the seventy individuals arrested, zero talked. How it all went down is a tale of Mafia-style storylines emanating from the Bluegrass State, and populated by Vietnam veterans and weed-loving characters caught up in Tarantino-level violence and heart-breaking altruism.