Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner James Comer is praising a provision in the U.S. farm bill that would allow hemp cultivation at state universities.
Language in the federal legislation would permit state-level hemp growth if they’ve passed legislation allowing it on the state level. Kentucky passed such legislation last year.
U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell was integral in getting the language in the bill, Comer says.
“I think this would not have happened without Sen. McConnell,” Comer says of his fellow Republican. “Being the leader in the U.S. Senate has its privileges, and to be able to have a seat at the table for a major piece of legislation like the farm bill is a great asset for Kentucky.”
Comer says that while much work needs to be done to lure hemp processors to Kentucky, he’s confident the crop would be an economic boon for the state.
The federal government does not distinguish between hemp and its cousin crop, marijuana.
But even if hemp takes off, he says he doesn’t support legalizing and taxing marijuana like Colorado and Washington state have done.
“I’m gonna say no to that question, “Comer says. “I believe that we have an opportunity here to focus on an industry, hemp. It’s an agricultural crop. That’s something we’ve sold the state on.”
Comer adds that, as far as he’s concerned, hemp will be enough from that plant family for a while.