Hemp up for discussion this week - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Hemp up for discussion this week

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LOUISVILLE, KY (WDRB) -- The push continues to try to get industrial hemp legalized in Kentucky.

Supporters say it will give the state's economy a big boost.

WDRB News on Tuesday talked with a Louisville business owner whose company would benefit by the legalization of hemp and with Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner James Comer.

"We can create badly needed jobs in the manufacturing sector with this crop," Comer said last month at the first meeting of the Kentucky Industrial Hemp Commission in more than a decade.

Allowing Kentucky farmers to grow hemp is the number one priority of Comer.

A Congressional study says hemp is contained in as many as 25,000 products, including textiles, auto parts, and food products.

Caudill Seed Company is one Louisville business that would benefit from the legalization of hemp.

The family owned company has been in business for 65 years in Louisville. It sells seed and agricultural products to farmers in the state.

The company's president is Pat Caudill, a second generation member of the Caudill family.

"We would welcome the opportunity to provide seed for these farmers," says Caudill, "the seed that would be needed to plant hemp."

The company has about a hundred workers at its West Louisville location that occupies about two square blocks in the Portland neighborhood of the city.

Caudill says if hemp is legalized in Kentucky it would likely mean he could add jobs to his company because selling hemp seed would bring in a lot more business.

"I think it would be small to start with," he says, "but would grow into something large."

Supporters believe hemp could someday become as big as tobacco was in the state.

"We hope that the legislators will approve it to be used in the state of Kentucky," adds Caudill, "to help benefit the farmers in the state."

Ag Commissioner Comer told WDRB by phone on Tuesday that he believes the Kentucky General Assembly will approve legalizing hemp during its short session which begins in early January.

"All we are asking," says Comer, "is that the government get out of the way and let the private sector work to let these jobs be created and let the farmers plant these crops and let them profit from these crops"

This Friday the Hemp Commission will gather in Frankfort for its second meeting in a decade to discuss the details of legislation to be presented and who might sponsor such legislation.

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