FRANKFORT, Ky. (WBKO) -- Agriculture Commissioner James Comer today applauded news that the proposed federal farm bill contains language that would take a giant step toward restoring industrial hemp production to Kentucky and the nation.
“For months, we have tried to get some assurance at the federal level that Kentucky producers can grow industrial hemp without fear of government harassment or prosecution. This is what we've been waiting for,” Commissioner Comer said.
“I appreciate Sen. Mitch McConnell’s efforts to get hemp language in the farm bill. Without his protection of the language, there is no way it would have survived the process. I’m also grateful to Sen. Rand Paul and Reps. John Yarmuth and Thomas Massie for supporting our efforts from the beginning. And I again want to thank state Sen. Paul Hornback for having the courage to sponsor Senate Bill 50, which makes industrial hemp production legal under Kentucky law.”
The farm bill contains language that would allow state departments of agriculture and institutions of higher learning to conduct pilot hemp projects for research purposes in states such as Kentucky where hemp production is legal according to state law. The research must relate to growth, cultivation, and/or marketing of hemp. Sen. McConnell’s top deputies quietly communicated with Kentucky Department of Agriculture senior staff for weeks on the progress with the hemp language.
Today, Commissioner Comer is working the phones talking with producers, processors, and members of the Kentucky Industrial Hemp Commission. The commission’s chairman, Brian Furnish, was very gratified to hear this latest news.
“We still have work to do, and this isn't’t the end of the road, but it’s unbelievable progress, and I could not be happier with this development,” Furnish said. “I appreciate Sen. McConnell holding firm for Kentucky, and I believe the day is coming when we will see this crop completely restored to the Commonwealth.”
The U.S. House of Representatives could take up the farm bill as early as Wednesday.