Agriculture Commissioner James Comer credited industrial hemp supporters for encouraging lawmakers and Gov. Steve Beshear to approve historic legislation that will help restore hemp production to Kentucky.
Gov. Beshear said he will take no action on Senate Bill 50, allowing it to become law.
“This shows what can happen when the people get behind positive legislation that has the potential to create jobs and opportunity for Kentucky,” Comer said.
“Six months ago, industrial hemp was on nobody’s radar. Now, SB 50 will become the law of the Commonwealth. I’m grateful to all the people — legislators, farmers, business people, Republicans, Democrats — who made their voices heard on this issue, and to Sen. Paul Hornback for taking a chance and sponsoring the bill.”
Commissioner Comer plans to call on Washington and work with Kentucky’s congressional delegation to ask federal authorities for permission to grow industrial hemp in Kentucky.
“Now that this bill will become law, the federal government will know that Kentucky’s leaders from both parties are united in our intent to bring industrial hemp production back to the Commonwealth in a responsible way,” Commissioner Comer said.
Senate Bill 50 passed in the Kentucky General Assembly in the final hour of the recently concluded legislative session after months of debate and expert testimony.
Senate Bill 50 creates an administrative framework, to be managed by the Kentucky Department of Agriculture, for industrial hemp production in Kentucky.
The legislation calls for hemp demonstration projects by the University of Kentucky and other public universities that choose to participate.
Under the bill, the Kentucky State Police are required to conduct background checks on applicants for licenses to grow industrial hemp.