Kentucky Sues To Get Hemp Seeds’ Release

Kentucky’s Agriculture Department has filed a lawsuit seeking the release of imported hemp seeds being held up by federal officials.

Plaintiffs in the suit filed Wednesday in Louisville include the U.S. Justice Department, the Drug Enforcement Administration and U.S. Customs and Border Protection. The Justice Department did not immediately comment when contacted.

The state Agriculture Department wants to distribute the seeds for use in pilot projects that would be Kentucky’s first hemp crop in decades.

Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner James Comer said that Kentucky officials thought they had an agreement with the DEA at 4 p.m. on Tuesday to apply for a permit for all the universities conducting pilot hemp projects, which are allowed under the Farm Bill that became law earlier this year. And then at 9 p.m., Kentucky officials got another letter from a different official suggesting a more elaborate process with different terms and conditions.

“That was never the congressional intent,” Comer said, saying that the Farm Bill that allowed the pilot projects clearly states that it trumps any other regulations that would limit hemp growth.

“We’re doing exactly what the federal law says and they continue to hold up our seed,” Comer said, adding that the window to plant for this year’s growing season closes June 1.

– Read the entire article at The Courier-Journal.