Last updated: May 08. 2014 2:58PM - 571 Views

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The right to grow industrial hemp in Kentucky has faced many hurdles on the state and federal levels, but now it is legal to grow, and a new pilot project with the plant could be an economic boon for our state.

Kentucky lawmakers worked tirelessly last year to get hemp reintroduced into the state, and language was added to the federal farm bill, which allows state agriculture departments to designate hemp pilot projects for research in states that already allow the growing of hemp. State officials have unfortunately had to go through federal bureaucracy on every level to get the seeds required to plant here.

One major hurdle still facing the state is getting Congress to deregulate hemp.

Beginning this month, the state’s first industrial hemp crop in decades will start going into the ground, now that the pipeline for shipping seeds into the state is opening to allow experimental plantings.

This is a pretty historical moment, considering the production of hemp has been banned in the state for decades.

So far, eight pilot projects are planned statewide as part of a small-scale reintroduction to gauge the versatile crop’s potential in the marketplace and as a moneymaker for farmers. The first seeds will be planted May 16 in Rockcastle County.

This is the first step in getting farmers to start growing the plant. Those involved hope they can get enough seeds to gather important research needed by the fall. They are hoping by next year they will have enough seeds to have several processors in the state and several farmers under contract.

We hope they achieve this goal.

While hemp re-introduction still in its early stages, we are glad it is being reintroduced in our state. It has the potential to be a huge boost for Kentucky’s economy.

— Daily News, Bowling Green

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