Local News

A federal judge ruled Friday that the Kentucky Department of Agriculture will need to apply for a permit in order to get possession of 250 pounds of hemp seeds from U.S. Customs.

The seeds have been stalled in Louisville since arriving from Italy last week. DEA officials have claimed the seeds are classified as a Schedule 1 controlled substance, but the state argues their importation is legal under the recently-enacted farm bill.

An attorney representing the DEA said the process would be expedited.

“We made great progress today, I think we finally had a productive discussion, which is what we wanted to have all along, and now we can move forward with our pilot programs exactly as we had planned them,” said Holly Harris, chief of staff for Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner James Comer. ”And I think we can sit down with the DEA and get this worked out.”

The seeds are set to be used for research in pilot hemp projects at several universities across the state. state Agriculture Department officials hope to have the seeds ready for planting by the end of next week.

Another hearing is schedule for Wednesday to discuss the process of getting the hemp seeds to private farmers for the research pilot project.

Jacob Ryan is a reporter for the Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting.