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Kentucky bill could expand hemp pilot program

Updated: Jan 19, 2019

UPDATE (03/07/17): KY SB 218 has passed 88-3 in the House, and will now go to the Governor for signature.


A bill is moving through the Kentucky legislature that would rewrite the legal framework for the industrial hemp program, aligning state regulations with the federal 2014 Farm Bill.

It allows the Kentucky Department of Agriculture to modify the pilot program based on decisions made in Congress, rather than having to wait for the general assembly to come back into session to change it by statute.

Senate Bill 218, sponsored by Senate Majority Floor Leader Sen. Damon Thayer, R-Georgetown, was the product of six months of close collaboration and consensus-building among three key stakeholder agencies that included the Kentucky Department of Agriculture (KDA), Kentucky State Police (KSP), and the UK College of Agriculture.

The photo above shows KSP officers, with Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles and Sen. Damon Thayer testifying in favor of the bill. It passed in the state Senate last week 35-0.

In addition, the legislation replaces the old Hemp Commission with a new Industrial Hemp Advisory Board that will give advice and input to KDA, and it charges UK’s Regulatory Services laboratory with responsibility for THC testing.

The bill contains six important law enforcement safeguards, according to Senate Republicans:

▪ Requires applicants to submit GPS coordinates for growing locations.

▪ Requires applicants to give written consent to entry by representatives of KDA, KSP and other law enforcement agencies.

▪ Requires annual criminal background checks.

▪ Imposes a 10-year program ban for any person convicted of a felony.

▪ Imposes a 10-year ban for any person convicted of a drug-related misdemeanor or violation.

▪ Imposes a 10-year program ban for any person convicted of any felony.

Thayer says the bill protects the state from people who might decide to grow marijuana, and not industrial hemp.

Click here to learn more about two House Bills that passed in the Kentucky General Assembly, and would have an impact on the Kentucky Hemp Pilot Program.

Click on the links below to learn more about Kentucky hemp legislation:

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