The bill will improve the framework for the growth of the industrial hemp farming in Kentucky.
By Michael Bachara
With a 35-0 vote, the Kentucky Senate approved legislation (SB 218) to expand Kentucky law, establishing rules for hemp production in the Commonwealth.
If passed by the House, the bill will authorize the Kentucky Department of Agriculture to publicize administrative regulations for the program and replaces the Hemp Commission with an Industrial Hemp Advisory Board.
Kentucky Commissioner of Agriculture Ryan Quarles said, "The bill will improve the framework of a growing industrial hemp program in Kentucky.”
"As many as 12,000 acres of hemp could be planted this season. That compares to 4000 acres approved for hemp production last year," according to Commissioner Quarles.
In 2014, the program began in Kentucky with a minor 33 acres. By 2016, 137 growers were approved to plant up to 4,500 acres. With more than 12,800 acres approved to be grown, 2017 will mark the state’s largest industrial hemp crop under the program.
“We are proud to have 40 processors with brick-and-mortar locations in Kentucky, the highest ever, that are turning this raw product into intermediate or final materials. Its potential uses are unlimited,” said Commissioner Quarles.