Ky. agriculture commissioner to push hemp in DC

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Associated Press

Posted on March 28, 2013 at 7:01 AM

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — Agriculture Commissioner James Comer will lead a Kentucky delegation to Washington to ask for an exemption to allow farmers in his state to grow industrial hemp.

That announcement came a day after the Kentucky Legislature passed a bill that lays the groundwork for licensing hemp growers if the federal government ever lifts a ban on the crop.

Hemp thrived in Kentucky generations ago but was banned after the federal government classified it as a controlled substance.

Comer has said hemp could be an economic boon for Kentucky. Besides creating another crop for the state's farmers, Comer said hemp could lead to manufacturing jobs that produce products ranging from paper to cosmetics.

Law enforcement officials worry that hemp fields could camouflage illegal marijuana, which has identical leaves.

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