A ruling by the Justice Department will honor state laws on regulated marijuana sales, which essentially gives the go-ahead for production of industrial hemp in Kentucky.
State Agriculture Commissioner James Comer believes the ruling clarifies that the Federal Government does not and will not view Kentucky’s industrial hemp as an illegal product and they will not intervene on state passed laws on the issue. Kentucky lawmakers did that when they passed Senate Bill 50.
Comer says growing hemp gives farmers another "tool in the tool box."
“You can’t look at the market today you look at what the market can be ten years from now and you look at what other states are doing and everybody wants to be sustainable. Industrial hemp in other countries is replacing products that are currently being produced in the United States from plastic and trees. So I believe as we look ahead and as we strive to be more sustainable and eco-friendly, industrial hemp is a crop that has unlimited potential.” –James Comer
Hemp used to be a leading crop in Kentucky and it can be grown in areas of the state where corn and other crops do not flourish. It will also be a replacement for tobacco farmers who have continued to see their incomes dwindle.
Comer says hemp will not only create a new agricultural economy for the state, but it will actually help cut down marijuana growth.
“You could argue that if you want to get rid of marijuana in Kentucky, plant industrial hemp in different places because it cross pollinates and dilutes the THC in the marijuana so I think when you look at industrial hemp…it’s a win-win situation for everyone…for law enforcement, for family farmers, for the taxpayers of Kentucky because we need to generate some economic activity desperately in our rural communities.” –James Comer
Comer hopes licenses will be issued for hemp farmers this year and crops could be harvested as early as next season.