U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., disagrees with Attorney General Jack Conway's opinion that industrial hemp farming remains illegal in Kentucky.
Earlier this year state lawmakers passed a bill allowing farmers to grow the crop if the federal government lifts a longstanding ban.
Agriculture Commissioner James Comer has been a champion of hemp production, and argues a recent decision by the Justice Department not to challenge marijuana laws in others state clears a path for growers.
But Conway's opinion makes it clear any farmer who grows the crop intentionally “will expose themselves to potential criminal liability and the possible seizure of property.”
Paul—who defeated Conway in the 2010 U.S. Senate race—says state law permits hemp production and Kentucky growers should be ready to begin.
From Paul's office:
“Kentucky law provides for the production of industrial hemp in the Commonwealth and we are ready to move forward. The Obama Administration has weighed in on laws in other states and I would expect for Kentucky to be treated equally in this process. I support Agriculture Commissioner James Comer's efforts on this issue and I will continue to do all I can to secure this new industry for Kentucky.”
Conway's advisory opinion does not carry the weight of law, but was supported by Gov. Steve Beshear, House Speaker Greg Stumbo and the Kentucky State Police.