On February 14, a week following the passage of the 2014 Farm Bill, Agriculture Commissioner James Comer announced in a press release from the Kentucky Department of Agriculture that he was creating industrial hemp pilot projects in Kentucky.
Commissioner Comer and Attorney General Jack Conway had been in direct communication for a couple months, regarding hemp production in Kentucky, and senior staff in both of their offices reviewed language for the pilot programs to ensure compliance with the parameters outlined in the federal farm bill.
“I appreciate Commissioner Comer working with the Office of the Attorney General as he implements the pilot projects in Kentucky,” Attorney General Conway stated in the release.
Commissioner Comer asked Attorney General Conway to contact federal border patrol entities on behalf of the Commonwealth of Kentucky to make certain hemp seeds for the pilot project are legally imported for the purposes outlined in the farm bill.
Attorney General Conway also pledged to work with Commissioner Comer to help pursue a federal waiver from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration that would allow for the expansion of industrial hemp production for commercial purposes.
“I appreciate Commissioner Comer understanding the concerns of law enforcement officers and ensuring that any future expansion would address their concerns,” Attorney General Conway said.Comer hopes to provide more details on the pilot projects at an event in Eastern Kentucky on Feb. 17 and said the projects will be located in diverse areas of the Commonwealth with unique research focuses and different university affiliations.
“The cooperation between agriculture and law enforcement is a critical element of moving this industry forward,” Commissioner Comer said. “I appreciate Attorney General Conway’s willingness to open the lines of communication and help us overcome the legal obstacles to this new market for Kentucky farmers.”