Kentucky is taking another step toward industrial hemp production.
The Kentucky Industrial Hemp Commission has directed the state Department of Agriculture staff to begin writing regulations governing industrial hemp production in the commwealth and voted to serve notice to the federal government that Kentucky is moving forward.
Hemp is legal to grow under state law after legislation from this year's General Assembly and Ag. Commissioner Jamie Comer says a Department of Justice official recently testified the federal government would not prosecute hemp farming.
Kentucky Department of Agriculture attorney Luke Morgan says a 2003 regulation clarifies that industrial hemp is not marijuana and the federal Drug Enforcement Administration does not have jurisdiction over hemp.
Commissioner Comer says the letter will state Kentucky is taking the next step toward growing industrial hemp, unless told otherwise.
Comer says his office will be hard at work at bringing processors to Kentucky to hopefully create new opportunities for farmers.
The commissioner says poultry and equine businesses have expressed interest in hemp bedding, which would be easy to process and would “jump start” the industry in Kentucky.