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Comer will go to D.C. within a month to seek exemption for Kentuckians to grow hemp

Agriculture Commissioner James Comer said he plans to lead a delegation to Washington within a month to seek an exemption for Kentucky producers to grow industrial hemp.

“I will work closely with Sens. Rand Paul and Mitch McConnell and Reps. John Yarmuth and Thomas Massie to put Kentucky first in line if and when the federal government allows industrial hemp production,” Comer said hours after the Kentucky General Assembly passed Senate Bill 50, state Sen. Paul Hornback’s bill to establish an administrative framework for hemp production in Kentucky. “We are closer to our goal of bringing hemp back to Kentucky than we have been in more than 60 years, and our work continues.”

Former Kentucky Treasurer Jonathan Miller will act as liaison to the White House for the Kentucky Industrial Hemp Commission, of which both Comer and Miller are members. (Read Miller’s column about passage of the hemp bill on KyForward.)

“I am happy to lend whatever aid I can to this worthy effort,” Miller said. “I am so proud of everyone who worked to pass Senate Bill 50, including Commissioner Comer, Sen. Hornback, and [state] Rep. Rocky Adkins, who literally worked until the 11th hour to strike a deal, even when the bill appeared to be dead. Now Kentucky can send a unified, bipartisan message to the federal authorities.”

Senate Bill 50, with a House floor amendment drafted by Adkins, passed the House by an 88-4 margin in the final hour of the legislative session Tuesday night. The Senate concurred in the House floor amendment 35-1. Along with the administrative framework, the bill keeps the hemp commission attached to the Kentucky Department of Agriculture, tasks the Kentucky State Police with conducting background checks on applicants for licenses to grow industrial hemp, and provides for demonstration projects by the University of Kentucky and other public universities that choose to participate.

From Kentucky Department of Agriculture

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