Comer

Kentucky: Ag. commissioner pushes hemp at Lexington Forum

By WKYT Staff

Kentucky: Ag. commissioner pushes hemp at Lexington ForumLEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner James Comer spoke to a crowded room at Thursday's Lexington Forum continuing his push for industrial hemp here in Kentucky. He says it's something this year's General Assembly must act on.

Comer says hemp would be a cheap crop for farmers to grow and would create jobs across the state. Comer says other states are working on similar legislation and Kentucky could lose its opportutnity to cash in if others legalize it first. State police are opposed to the idea, saying it's impossible for them to visually distinguish hemp from marijuana. They say they would have to do a chemical analysis on any suspected marijuana plant and that would create a backlog in their system. Comer disagrees.

Kentucky: Comer Supports Aggressive Approach to Legalizing Industrial Hemp

by Gabe Bullard, WFPL

There is a truth that must be heard! Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner-elect James Comer is planning to support legislation to allow industrial hemp farming.

The bill has been pre-filed in the General Assembly to legalize the controversial practice. Comer supports the measure and says he will make it part of his legislative package once he takes office next week. But a federal waiver would still be required before hemp farming could begin.

Comer is prepared to fight for a waiver.

"Once the bill passes and becomes law in Kentucky, then I will go with Senator [Rand] Paul and a group of our federal delegation to Washington and try to get Kentucky to be able to have a pilot project to grow industrial hemp," he says.

A bill that was passed and signed into law a decade ago allows the University of Kentucky to grow industrial hemp for research purposes. Comer says research is no longer necessary, and wide-scale farming will be an economic boon for tobacco growers who are looking to diversify their farms.

Comer will also support legislation to make him the head of the hemp commission. The panel was formed ten years ago as part of the legislation allowing research farming, but the panel hasn’t met or chosen a leader.

Governor Steve Beshear says he does not support industrialized hemp farming based on objections from the law enforcement community. Comer says such concerns are misguided.

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