Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner James Comer is cheering House passage of legislation to allow university research on industrial hemp. The measure was an amendment to the farm bill that passed in the U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday.
“Without a doubt, this was an historic day for industrial hemp in America,” Comer said. “There’s a long way to go in the legislative process. And I won’t be satisfied until Kentucky farmers can legally grow industrial hemp again. But I am pleased that we have made it this far.”
The amendment would allow colleges and universities to grow hemp for research purposes in states where hemp production is allowed by state law.
U.S. Rep. Thomas Massie of Vanceburg was one of three co-sponsors of the amendment and has filed a bill that would remove hemp from the federal definition of marijuana. U.S. Senators Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul, and Reps. Andy Barr, Brett Guthrie, and Ed Whitfield also have also publicly supported restoring legal hemp production to Kentucky.
“It wasn’t that long ago that people told us we wouldn’t even get a sponsor for the bill in the state Senate,” Comer said. “Now we have a state law for regulating hemp production, and one house of Congress has passed legislation to allow colleges and universities to grow hemp. This has been an amazing journey. And we’re not finished.”
Kentucky lawmakers this year passed a bill allowing farmers in the state to grow hemp if the federal government legalized the crop.