(WHAS11) – Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner James Comer says momentum is building behind a bill that would show the federal government that the state is ready to legalize hemp farming. Comer says the majority of Kentucky residents want to explore hemp as an alternative to tobacco farming.
Supporters say it is a great economic opportunity but opponents say they are afraid hemp farms could be used to hide marijuana plants.
There has been a federal ban on hemp crops for 70 years.
Comer says Kentucky needs to show the federal government that we are willing to take a chance on hemp because it has a proven track record in the state.
“That's my goal as AG Commissioner to continue to build new markets for new agricultural crops and that industrial hemp is a viable option for Kentucky. We know it will grow well in this climate. Used to be the leading crop in Kentucky,” said James Comer.
Comer says the Department of Agriculture can regulate hemp crops without hiring even one more person.
Past attempts to legalize hemp farming here have failed.
If the bill passed here in Kentucky, it would still need federal approval.