Experts Talk About Possibility of Industrializing Hemp in Kentucky

It is a controversial topic for some, but two government officials think that hemp could help the economy here in the bluegrass.

Sen. Rand Paul and Agriculture Commissioner James Comer said they hope federal restrictions may soon be lifted so industrial hemp production can begin in Kentucky. Experts said the product was used around 200 years ago to make rope. Not everyone said they thought it was a good idea.

Paul and Comer are pushing for hemp to return to the bluegrass. Experts said the level of Tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, the psychoactive compound in marijuana, is different from the street drug.

“The THC concentration of the illicit marijuana is 6, 8, 12, 14 percent,” said Ed Shemelya, the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas, HIDTA, Marijuana Coordinator.

“Hemp is classified as one and a half or less.”

Paul is sponsoring legislation seeking to lift federal restrictions by amending the Controlled Substances Act.

“The controlled substance act does not distinguish between hemp and Sativa, they are one in the same, so it is illegal,” said Shemelya, a 30-year-veteran of the Kentucky State Police.

Officials said the proposed legislation would exclude industrial hemp from the definition of marijuana. Comer said hemp is a money maker and the commonwealth had just the right environment for the cash crop.

“Kentucky has the perfect soil and the climate to be the nation’s top producer of industrial hemp and studies show that it could be the third most profitable crop in Kentucky,” Comer said.

– Read the entire article at WKYT.