DEA to release hemp seeds to Ky. Agriculture Dept. Friday - WDRB 41 Louisville News

DEA to release hemp seeds to Ky. Agriculture Dept. Friday

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) --The Kentucky Department of Agriculture has secured the release of 250 pounds of hemp seeds after the Federal Drug Enforcement Administration approved a permit Thursday.

The department is expecting a UPS delivery of the seeds Friday. A spokesperson for the Ag Department confirmed DEA officials approved the permit for the state to have the seeds.

The Ag department was originally reluctant to apply for a permit because it refused to concede hemp is a "controlled substance" that should fall under federal regulation.

The two sides met with federal judge John Heyburn Wednesday and appeared to have resolved their issues, but more than 24 hours later, the seeds were still locked away at the U.S. Customs office in Louisville.

On Wednesday, the Kentucky Dept. of Agriculture filed the permit that the DEA required to begin hemp research projects.

The agency told Judge Heyburn it would expedite the approval of that permit.

Agriculture Commissioner James Comer says he expected the DEA to release the seeds within 24 hours, but so far -- nothing

"As of this very second, it's been over 24 hours and we still haven't received the seeds. If we don't have them by tomorrow, we're supposed to do a conference call with the judge, with the DEA on the other line, and the DEA is going to have to explain to the federal judge why the Kentucky Dept. of Agriculture does not have the seeds yet," said Comer.

Comer says the seeds must be in the ground by the first week of June or they would begin to lose their yield and jeopardize the pilot projects.

He believes hemp could be a new cash crop for Kentucky farmers and lead to processing plants moving to the state.

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