Time to Move Ahead on Kentucky Hemp Production

Time to Move Ahead on Kentucky Hemp Production

If the federal government is going to allow states to regulate the use of marijuana – as Colorado, Washington, and others have done – then the often-attacked hemp production industry should follow the same rules.

That’s Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul’s logic, and it’s why he and Kentucky Commissioner of Agriculture James Comer notified the U.S. Department of Justice that they will begin issuing permits that would allow Kentucky farmers to grow hemp.

As Jonathan Meador of 89.3 WFPL reports:

“Paul and Comer, both Republicans, hope to provoke clarity on the current legality of growing hemp in Kentucky, which remains murky in the wake of a memo released last month by U.S. Deputy Attorney General James Cole. That Aug. 30 memo stated that the federal government will respect state marijuana laws, which advocates believe likely includes the legalization of hemp production.

A spokesperson for Paul said that the junior Kentucky senator intends ‘to be a part of correspondence with the Department of Justice’ and that Paul ‘supports the work of the Hemp Commission and supports Commissioner Comer’s efforts to move forward with the reintroduction of industrial hemp in Kentucky.’”

That state itself has taken steps to prepare for and clarify the growth of hemp in Kentucky. Part of the reason they’re continuing on like this is OK: They haven’t been told otherwise, despite asking. Paul was part of that original question to the Department of Justice.

“Comer sent a previous letter to the Justice Department earlier this year urging the federal government to lift its ban on hemp. That letter was co-signed by a whos-who of Kentucky politicians—including Paul, Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell, and Reps. John Yarmuth and Thomas Massie, a Democrat and Republican, respectively.”

“It’s gone unanswered.”

Paul and Comer will draft a letter “soon,” the article goes on to say. The ultimate goal is to make the growing of hemp legal for “industrial and research purposes” in the state of Kentucky. That includes clarifying federal law, which for decades has linked marijuana and hemp despite hemp not being explicitly named in the law.

So Paul and Comer will ask. And hopefully this time, they’ll actually get an answer.

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