In April Senate Bill 50 became law in Kentucky, ending the state’s prohibition on hemp, while making state-licensed cultivation contingent on a change in federal law. Now that the Obama Administration has announced that they won’t enforce federal law in states where cannabis has been made legal, Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner James Comer and the Agriculture Department’s attorney Luke Morgan stated today that this allows the state to move forward with licensing hemp producers; Comer will push for the state to begin licensing by the year’s end, with legal hemp cultivation beginning next year.
“The DOJ memo removes any question that SB 50 and the changes to Kentucky’s laws in this legislation may be immediately implemented,” stated Morgan, who says that the memo clarifies “that the federal government does not and will not view Kentucky’s industrial hemp as an illegal product.”
“It’s about time,” says Comer, speaking about the Obama Administration’s recent announcement, “Two years ago, the Obama administration would not even discuss the legalization of industrial hemp. But through a bi-partisan coalition of Kentucky leaders, we forced their hand.”
This new decision is sure to excite those in Kentucky, a large majority of which support industrial hemp; a poll in February found only 22% in the state oppose its legalization.