Local author Denver Wilson has released his third book, “Greener Than Money,” chronicling drug busts in Russell County, with a focus on the marijuana trade.
Kentucky’s number one cash crop for many years is not tobacco, as many would guess, but marijuana. In 2008 alone the Appalachian region was responsible for $4 billion in marijuana, and Kentucky, Tennessee and West Virginia are the three top marijuana producers in the region, according to a report by the Washington Times.
As buying, selling and having marijuana becomes legal in many states, contrary to federal law, in Kentucky lawmakers are renewing legislative proposals to legalize hemp, a different variety of the same species of plant that had been used for decades as a material for making rope prior to being made illegal in the United States in the early part of the 20th century.
Today hemp is used for thousands of products, from clothing material to food products.
Wilson’s book focuses on the growth of the marijuana business in Russell County in the 1970’s, ultimately the book mirrors his first book, Kentucky Justice, in that he has culled newspaper articles, mainly from The Times Journal and Russell County News, to present a picture of illegal drug activity in the county through the decades.
Bigger busts in surrounding counties also get their treatment in the book.
“I had stated on it,” Wilson said of beginning to put together his book at the same time as Kentucky Justice. “And after I done the first one a lot of people kept saying, ‘You never got into illegal drugs. We really don’t know the history of Russell County.” I went right ahead and tore into it and went with it, I just responded to what people were talking about.”
Wilson said he has received a lot of good feedback on his first two books, the second one, a fictional work that seems a thinly veiled story of bootlegging in Russell County entitled “Bootlegging in Paradise.”
Currently he is not selling his first book due to an active lawsuit concerning it.
Wilson said his distributorship in Memphis has told him he is number one in sales for their company.
He’s currently working on another book with the working title: “Teenagers Then and Now,” which discusses teenage activity in Russell County from the 1940’s through 2010.
Wilson also said that many people have expressed an interest in a collection of factual stories from the county but that as of now he’s not figured out a format for the idea.
Greener Than Money is available at Springs Diner on Main Street, Russell Springs, Francis and Kerry Hair Design, Blankenship’s Barber Shop, Russell Springs Barber Shop and Country Folks Realty and Auction.
Wilson said that 25 percent of sales of the $20 purchase price will be donated to local fire departments.