Agriculture
6:41 am
Fri March 29, 2013

Comer to Lead Pro-Hemp Delegation to Washington

Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner James Comer (left) is a leading advocate for industrial hemp.
Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner James Comer (left) is a leading advocate for industrial hemp.
Credit Kentucky Department of Agriculture

Agriculture Commissioner James Comer will lead a Kentucky delegation to Washington to ask for an exemption to allow farmers in his state to grow industrial hemp.

That announcement comes after the Kentucky Legislature passed a bill that lays the groundwork for licensing hemp growers if the federal government ever lifts a ban on the crop.

Hemp thrived in Kentucky generations ago but was banned after the federal government classified it as a controlled substance.

Comer has said hemp could be an economic boon for Kentucky. Besides creating another crop for the state's farmers, Comer said hemp could lead to manufacturing jobs that produce products ranging from paper to cosmetics.

Law enforcement officials worry that hemp fields could camouflage illegal marijuana, which has identical leaves.