Industrial Hemp

Local News
4:14 pm
Tue May 13, 2014

Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner Says DEA Will Issue Permit for Hemp Seeds, Avoiding Court Action

Credit Creative Commons

Update: Agriculture Commissioner James Comer has told the Herald-Leader that the Drug Enforcement Administration will release the hemp seeds. Comer expects a permit to be issued for the release of the seeds by the end of the week, the Lexington newspaper reported.

Earlier: The Kentucky Department of Agriculture is preparing to go to federal court to force the release of 250 pounds of hemp seeds.

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8:30 am
Wed January 29, 2014

Agriculture Commissioner James Comer Praises Hemp Provision in Federal Farm Bill

Credit Adrian Cable/Creative Commons

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.

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3:48 pm
Wed September 25, 2013

Attorney General Jack Conway: Industrial Hemp is Still Illegal in Kentucky

Credit Adrian Cable/Creative Commons

Attorney General Jack Conway is advising Kentucky leaders that industrial hemp farming remains illegal in Kentucky.

Conway issued an advisory letter Wednesday to Gov. Steve Beshear, Agriculture Commissioner James Comer and others to clarify current law related to hemp.

The opinion from Conway does not carry the force of law.

Kentucky lawmakers have passed legislation that would allow farmers to grow the crop if the federal government lifts a longstanding ban.

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3:14 pm
Thu September 12, 2013

Rand Paul, James Comer to Notify Justice Department That Hemp Permits May Start in Kentucky

James Comer
Credit File photo

Sen. Rand Paul and Kentucky Commissioner of Agriculture James Comer are playing a game of chicken with the federal government over the growing of industrial hemp in the state.

Encouraged by the state’s Industrial Hemp Commission, Comer and Paul plan to draft a letter to U.S. Department of Justice indicating that Kentucky will proceed with adopting regulations and issuing permits for farmers to begin planting the controversial crop as early as next February, unless they are told otherwise.

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5:02 pm
Tue September 10, 2013

James Comer, Thomas Massie Lobby for Hemp in Washington, D.C.

James Comer
Credit Ben Droz, Vote Hemp

Two Kentucky elected officials made the case for industrial hemp Tuesday at a briefing in Washington, D.C., in an effort to lobby Congress to legalize the plant for commercial production.

U.S. Rep. Thomas Massie and state Agriculture Commissioner James Comer briefed Congressional staffers on the benefits of industrial hemp at a forum hosted by Vote Hemp, touting the benefits of the research and commercial production of industrial hemp, and how it’s radically different from its psychoactive cousin, marijuana. They were joined by Rep. Jared Polis, a Colorado Democrat.

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Local News
5:53 pm
Mon August 26, 2013

Ag Commissioner: Business Interest in Kentucky Industrial Hemp Stronger Than Study Suggests

Adrian Cable/Creative Commons

Kentucky's agriculture commissioner says the economic case for industrial hemp remains strong, despite a new study that paints a mixed picture.

James Comer says he still has high hopes for the crop, following the release of the University of Kentucky study that says the legalization of hemp wouldn't immediately produce the thousands of jobs some supporters have predicted.

Comer maintains there is big interest in hemp among many U.S. companies.

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2:30 pm
Thu June 20, 2013

Congressman Thomas Massie's Hemp Amendment Passes House (and Then the Farm Bill Fails)

Congressman Thomas Massie, R-Ky.,
Credit U.S. Congress

UPDATE: The House just made Massie's amendment a moot point by rejecting the farm bill in a 234-195 bipartisan vote.

Earlier: Colleges and universities would be allowed to grow hemp for academic research under an amendment to the farm bill approved by a bipartisan vote in the House on Thursday.

The proposal was introduced by Kentucky Republican Congressman Thomas Massie along with Democrats Earl Blumenauer of Oregon and Jared Polis of Colorado, and passed by a 225-to-200 vote. It applies only to states that have authorized the crops cultivation.

A majority of Kentucky’s congressional representatives have been vocal supporters for easing federal restrictions on hemp, which is illegal to grow in the U.S. due to its genetic relation to marijuana. Opponents against the language argued the amendment will hamper law enforcement efforts because the crop is difficult to distinguish between its cannabis cousin.

But Massie says hemp is not marijuana, adding the amendment will help move the research forward to one day allow farmers to grow the crop legally.

"People think it’s about drugs but when they get done laughing about the word hemp and realize industrial hemp is not marijuana they realize it’s a jobs bill and an opportunity for Kentucky farmers," he says. "What this amendment does is it carves out a very small exception for universities to do research without running afoul of the drug laws. And I hope it’s a precursor to allowing all of the farmers in Kentucky to grow industrial hemp."

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Local News
3:39 pm
Tue June 11, 2013

Beshear Asks Feds to Look Into Economic Benefits of Hemp

Gov. Steve Beshear is asking federal officials to look into whether industrial hemp could be grown in Kentucky without hindering drug eradication efforts.

Kentucky lawmakers passed a bill earlier this year that lays the groundwork for hemp farming if the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration were to lift restrictions on the crop.

Beshear allowed the bill to become law without his signature, saying he shared concerns raised by law enforcement about how industrial hemp could be used to hide an illegal marijuana crop.    

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Local News
11:49 am
Tue May 21, 2013

Comer Hopeful That Federal Farm Bill Will Include Hemp Provision

Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner James Comer
File photo

Kentucky's agriculture commissioner says a recent legislative setback shouldn't cause hemp supporters to give up hopes of getting the crop legalized. James Comer says he's not surprised that language legalizing industrial hemp wasn’t added to the first drafts of farm bills in the U.S. House and Senate.

Last week, a group of Kentucky U.S. Senators and House members tried--and failed--to get the provision included in the legislation.

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Local News
3:05 pm
Wed May 15, 2013

McConnell Looking at 'All the Options' to Legalize Hemp Production in Kentucky

Adrian Cable/Creative Commons

Kentucky’s senior U.S. Senator says he plans to do his part to help the commonwealth’s farmers eventually grow industrial hemp.

Republican Leader Mitch McConnell says he and fellow Senator Rand Paul met with state Agriculture Commissioner Jamie Comer last week as Comer toured Washington to drum-up for support for legalizing the crop.

McConnell declined to gauge the possible success of comer’s lobbying efforts…

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