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Three Kentucky legislators seek revisions to federal hemp policy

Updated: Jan 16, 2019

Last week, three Kentucky lawmakers — Republican Sen. Rand Paul, Democratic Rep. John Yarmuth and Republican Rep. Thomas Massie — asked the Obama administration to remove or revise August guidance that prohibits the shipment of hemp plants and seeds across state lines, even through legal pilot programs.

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY)
U.S. Senator Rand Paul (R-KY)

Rep. John Yarmuth (D-KY)
U.S. Representative John Yarmuth (D-KY)

Rep. Thomas Massie
U.S. Representative Thomas Massie (R-KY)

"We request that you please remove the attempted prohibition of transporting plants and seeds across state lines," stated Senator Rand Paul, and sixteen of his colleagues, in a letter dated Thursday.

The group of Kentucky lawmakers told the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that its guidance has sown seeds of confusion among state agriculture departments and universities that have hemp research programs.

Kentucky is currently one of 28 states that have authorized hemp cultivation under Section 7606 of the 2015 Farm Bill which enabled the establishment of pilot programs for research and development.

In addition, the Farm Bill also states that the Executive Branch may not use appropriate funds "to prohibit the transportation, processing, sale or use of industrial hemp" that is grown in accordance with the law.

The lawmakers that the three agencies did not have the authority to issue the August guidance and requested that the previous statement and position be revised.



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