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SHELBYVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- The crop controversy over hemp could end up in court. Those who support growing hemp may challenge Attorney General Jack Conway's opinion that the crop is still banned in Kentucky.
On one side is Kentucky's Attorney General. On the other, the Commissioner of Agriculture. Caught in the middle are the farmers of Kentucky.
In Shelby County, Attorney General Jack Conway is warning students about the dangers of prescription pill abuse. Later he had a warning for farmers about the danger of growing hemp.
"Federal law still remains very clear that farmer's can't cultivate hemp," said Conway.
Conway's opinion puts him at odds with Agriculture Commissioner Jamie comer and U.S. Sen. Rand Paul. They believe the federal government's decision not to challenge state laws legalizing marijuana also apply to hemp.
They're pushing farmers to begin planting next spring. But if they do, will Conway prosecute?
"I can't see myself getting all ginned up about going out and prosecuting a farmer who wants to grow hemp. I would think I would have higher priorities, OK," said Conway.
State Senator Paul Hornback sponsored the bill legalizing hemp in Kentucky. He's also a farmer. "I think the Attorney General is wrong on this issue, but I also think we need to call his hand on it," said Hornback.
He believes the controversy is freezing the potential growth of the hemp industry in the state. The issue may come to a legal showdown.
"I think there's still maybe a possibility we could at least get a judges ruling. Maybe have a farmer plant some, and let's see what the Attorney General does. See if he prosecutes or doesn't prosecute," said Hornback.
"As Attorney General, I have to say to farmers, it may not be me prosecuting. What if the feds come in and DEA says, you can't do this. You're violating the law. We're going to arrest you. I can't guarantee them that there wouldn't be a law enforcement action," said Conway.
So, the hemp controversy may grow into a lawsuit, coming to harvest not on Kentucky's farms, but in the courtroom.