ky hemp1FRANKFORT, Ky. (9/27/13) – State officials view the legality of industrial hemp differently for Kentucky.
 
Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway released an opinion Wednesday stating that growing hemp is still illegal and Kentucky farmers, who grow it, could be prosecuted.
 
Kentucky Commissioner of Agriculture James Comer believes that the commonwealth's top law enforcement official is wrong about his decision.
 
Comer and U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, a Republican, have issued statements disagreeing with Conway, a Democrat.
 
Kentucky House Speaker Greg Stumbo sided with the attorney general in a statement released today.
 
"I think Attorney General Conway's decision is legally correct," Stumbo stated. "As we discuss this issue in the future, we should talk about medical marijuana. There is a growing area of research showing that this has a positive impact on health where needed. I am open and leaning toward supporting the use of medical marijuana as I read more and more research. It is something worth debating."
 
Medical marijuana has been used for pain relief, nausea, spasticity, glaucoma and movement disorders. It is also a powerful appetite stimulant and sometimes used for chemotherapy patients. It is legal to grow in some states although marijuana is federally illegal.
 
While there has been a push for federal approval of allowing Kentucky farmers to grow industrial hemp, the substance is genetically related to marijuana but has lower tetrahydrocannabinol, the drug substance in marijuana. Hemp can be used in food, cosmetics, clothing and industrial materials like rope.
 
It's a controversy that continues to grow.
 
Advocates of growing industrial hemp argue that the U.S. Justice Department's recent stance of easing enforcement of marijuana laws added to the state's new hemp law, which became effective when Gov. Steve Beshear opted not to act on the Senate Bill 50 in April, means the plant can be grown legally in the state.
 
Kentucky State Police officials don't agree and asked Conway for an opinion. Conway sided with the state police stating a federal waiver would be required or a change in federal law to legally produce hemp in Kentucky.
 
Locally, KSP Post 2 communication officer Stu Recke said troopers always focus on the law.
 
"We (KSP) will enforce the laws passed by the legislators to the best of our abilities," said Recke.
 
Police officials have expressed concerned because hemp could aid illegal marijuana growers because the plants look similar and it would be easier to hide. Others worry the two would cross pollinate.
 
Under federal law, the plant is a Schedule I substance along with heroin and PCP even though hemp typically possesses only 0.3 percent THC compared to 3 to 22 percent in typical marijuana.
 
Rita Dukes
SurfKY News

LIKE SurfKY on Facebook - Click here to LIKE us now.

© Copyright 2015 SurfKY News Group, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, or rewritten without permission. SurfKY News encourages you to share this story on social media.

Posted on 2/2/14
3/13 - 16
1 DOW 18,034.93
+208.63 (1.17%)    
2 S&P 2,100.40
+19.22 (0.92%)    
3 NASDAQ 4,994.60
+62.79 (1.27%)    
3/13 - 16

Most Read This Week

April 17, 2015 9002

An Open Letter from an Addict

by Olivia Kirks
April 13, 2015 6336

Three Juveniles, Adult Accused of Vandalizing…

by Deputy Will Coursey
April 14, 2015 5508

Several Juveniles Charged in Connection with Fight

by SurfKY News
April 18, 2015 5273

Man Charged with Attempting to Coerce Minor for…

by Madisonville Police Department
April 20, 2015 3549

Nortonville Woman Charged with Meth Possession at…

by Madisonville Police Department

Most Read This Month

April 17, 2015 9002

An Open Letter from an Addict

by Olivia Kirks
April 02, 2015 8576

UPDATE: Madisonville Man Injured in Head-on…

by Doreen Dennis, SurfKY News

Stories Trending Now

April 20, 2015 3549

Nortonville Woman Charged with Meth Possession at…

by Madisonville Police Department
April 20, 2015 1825

Madisonville Man Charged with Sex Abuse of Two…

by SurfKY News
April 20, 2015 1488

Traffic Stop Results in DUI, Drug Possession,…

by SurfKY News
April 20, 2015 1053

Pick Greenville's 'Saturdays on the Square' Free…

by Beth Newman
April 20, 2015 802

Madisonville Police Arrest Reports Released -…

by Madisonville Police Department
April 20, 2015 794

Hopkins County Sheriff's Reports Released

by Hopkins County Sheriff's Office
April 20, 2015 723

Police Seeking Public's Help in Locating Man…

by Wes Miller
April 20, 2015 581

Former Certified Medication Technician for Dawson…

by Leland Hulbert
April 20, 2015 522

Dawson Springs Police Reports Released

by Melissa Heflin
April 20, 2015 367

KDOW: Caney, Hurricane, Copper among Hopkins…

by Dick Brown