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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Calling it, "a major victory for Kentucky's farmers and for all Kentuckians," Kentucky's Agriculture Commissioner says a federal ruling means farmers in the Commonwealth have a green light to grow industrial hemp.
The Justice Department on Thursday reversed an earlier policy and said it would honor state laws regarding regulated marijuana sales.
Agriculture Commissioner James Comer said the passage of Senate Bill 50, which was designed to regulate the crop if the federal ban was lifted, made sure that the state was ready to move if the federal policy changed.
Industrial hemp once thrived in Kentucky, but the crop has been banned for decades since the federal government classified it as a controlled substance related to marijuana. The Justice Department, speaking of marijuana, not hemp, said Thursday that it could still act if states that legalize marijuana do not regulate it properly.
Hemp supporters say its reemergence can help farmers and create jobs turning its seeds and fiber into products.
Opponents doubt hemp's economic potential and worry it will complicate marijuana eradication efforts
Comer said the Kentucky Industrial Hemp Commission is set to meet next month to move forward on the issue -- he said he expected the state could issue licenses and start planting industrial hemp "within a year."