A group of military veteran farmers will plant one of Kentucky's first hemp crops in decades this week.
The Growing Warriors group had planned to plant hemp seeds last week. After 250 pounds of imported seeds were held in customs by the DEA, the Kentucky Department of Agriculture sued the federal government, and withdrew its support of the Warriors’ planting until the matter could be resolved.
On Friday, federal Judge John Heyburn ruled that the state must apply for a permit to lawfully obtain the seeds, and paved the way for Growing Warriors to obtain individual planting permits.
“I think it’s a victory for everybody," says Michael Lewis, an Army veteran and Rockcastle County farmer who will be among those growing hemp.
Lewis says he plans to obtain a permit early this week to plant his first hemp crop.
Kentucky's first legal planting of hemp seeds in decades is being postponed.
Officials from the Kentucky Agriculture Department, Kentucky State University, and pro-hemp groups were scheduled to plant hemp seeds Friday in Rockcastle County as part of a pilot project following the recent relaxing of state and federal rules regarding the crop.
But Agriculture Commissioner James Comer announced Thursday that the event has been postponed following a standoff between his department and federal officials over a detained shipment containing 250 pounds of hemp seeds.
The Agriculture Department filed a lawsuit Wednesday against the federal government, in an effort to get the shipment released by customs officials in Louisville.
Kentucky lawmakers passed a law allowing hemp to be planted as part of university-based research projects. Hemp advocates say the crop's fiber and oilseed can be used to make rope, paper, bio-fuels, cosmetics, and healthy foods.
In 1970, the federal government placed hemp on the list of Schedule One drugs, making it illegal to grow.
The Associated Press is reporting that Rockcastle County voters have rejected a packaged liquore proposal, by nearly a 2 to 1 margin. According to WYMT-TV in Hazard, the issue drew a strong voter turnout.