Industrial hemp's repositioning toward mainstream status gained ground with a recent endorsement from the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce.
State Agriculture Commissioner James Comer says the chamber has the kind of clout to get the attention of lawmakers.
Comer is leading the comeback campaign for the crop outlawed due to its association with its cousin, marijuana. Hemp has a negligible content of THC, the psychoactive compound that gives marijuana users a high.
Comer says hemp is a job-creator, and Kentucky can become a hub of hemp production and manufacturing.
Bills aimed at legalizing the crop have been introduced in the legislature, and lawmakers are expected to debate the issue when they return to the State Capitol next month.
But they acknowledge challenges remain, namely resistance from Kentucky State Police.