Hemp promoted as cash crop in Kentucky

FRANKFORT, KY. — Lawmakers have grown somewhat bolder in their push to allow farmers to grow hemp in Kentucky, a Bible-belt state where the issue was once considered politically taboo.

The House Agriculture and Small Business Committee held a hearing Wednesday on two bills that could put Kentucky in position to grow hemp if a federal restriction is lifted. Neither bill was called for a vote.

Most Kentucky political leaders have dismissed the issue in the past because of fears that voters might somehow conclude that they’re also pro-marijuana. But the issue was a centerpiece in last year’s race for agriculture commissioner, which was won decisively by Republican Jamie Comer, a hemp proponent.

Comer said growing industrial hemp would allow expansion of Kentucky farm markets and create jobs in rural communities.

Industrial hemp, a cousin to marijuana, is used to make fuel, cattle feed, textiles, paper, lotion, cosmetics and other products. Though it contains trace amounts of the mind-altering chemical tetrahydrocannabinol that makes marijuana intoxicating, it remains illegal in the United States.

 

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