1:20pm

Tue May 21, 2013
State Capitol

State Ag Commissioner Holds Out Hope for Hemp

Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner Jamie Comer
Credit Kentucky Agriculture Department

Kentucky's agriculture commissioner says a recent setback shouldn't cause hemp supporters to give up hope of getting the crop legalized. James Comer says he's not surprised that language legalizing industrial hemp wasn’t added to the first drafts of farm bills in the U.S. House and Senate.   Last week, a group of Kentucky U.S. Senators and House members tried--and failed--to get the provision included in the legislation.  Comer says the federal farm bill has a long way to go before it gets passed, and a lot of things will be added and taken out in the next few months

"And I learned during this last session in Kentucky, when I read in the papers that (House Speaker) Greg Stumbo would say my bill was dead, that it's  not over until the very last day, so we're still holding out hope on it.”

Comer managed to rally enough support in this year's General Assembly to get a measure passed that sets up a regulatory framework for hemp production in the commonwealth if the federal government legalizes the crop.  Comer says even if hemp production is allowed in the U.S., farmers will find it difficult to locate enough seeds to get a sizeable crop planted until 2014.