Kentucky is one of several states that have legalized the farming and research of industrial hemp, but it is the only state in the South to do so. Other states that have legalized such cultivation and research include Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Montana, North Dakota, Oregon, Vermont, Washington, and West Virginia.
Federal law still sees hemp as a Schedule I controlled substance under the Controlled Substances Act, which has sparked debate in Kentucky about the plant.
Here are four quotes about issues surrounding then industrial hemp farming issue in Kentucky.
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1. "With their investment, jobs have been created, jobs are going to be created, and they've signed contracts with family farmers. Hemp equals jobs and true economic growth, which is what we predicted when we launched Senate Bill 50 two years ago."
– Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner James Comer, during a news conference on May 5, 2015, announcing that the state had selected 121 participants to grow hemp on 1,742 acres, greatly expanding what farmers did in 2014, as reported by the Lexington Herald-Leader
2. "The confusion and potential commingling lends itself to an easier path for illegal marijuana growth across the country."
– United States Rep. Hal Rogers, chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, Politico, Feb. 5, 2015, arguing that hemp fields and marijuana
fields would be "indistinguishable," making it more difficult for law enforcement to stamp out illegal marijuana growing.
3. "For far too long, farmers and manufacturers in Kentucky and across the United States have been blocked from growing hemp or producing products from this versatile and useful plant. My colleagues and I in both the House and Senate hope to end this illogical ban."
– U.S. Rep. Thomas Massie from Kentucky, addressing hemp farming and his support for it in an op-ed column in the Cincinnati Enquirer in April 2015
4. "We want to make Charlotte's Web a Kentucky Proud product. This year's certainly a pilot year. We're looking at introducing our genetic varieties for Charlotte's Web this year and we'll be doing that very soon, actually, and basically hoping to move a large part of our operation here to Kentucky."
– Joel Stanley, chief executive officer of Stanley Brothers Social Enterprises on his company's plan to farm industrial hemp in Kentucky to make cannabidiol oil, which will be used to treat seizures in children, according to the Lexington Herald-Leader.
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