Monday, May 06, 2013

James Comer goes to Washington

Agriculture Commissioner James Comer will lead a bipartisan delegation on a three-day trip to Washington, D.C., this week to urge the federal government to allow industrial hemp production in Kentucky. The group will meet with White House officials, representatives of federal agencies, members of Congress and others.

“My colleagues and I will make the case that industrial hemp has the potential to create revenue and jobs,” Commissioner Comer said. “Thanks to the efforts of the General Assembly, we also can say that Kentucky is ready to set up a regulatory framework that will enable us to not only revive our hemp industry but do it in the right way.”

Comer will be joined by state Sen. Paul Hornback and former state treasurer Jonathan Miller (see Miller’s take on the trip here. Comer and Miller are scheduled to meet with representatives of the U.S. Department of Agriculture and hold a series of meetings with members of Congress, including Kentucky Reps. John Yarmuth and Thomas Massie.

Sen. Hornback is scheduled to join Comer and Miller for meetings with representatives of the White House, the Department of Energy, the Environmental Protection Agency, Sens. Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul, and Reps. Ed Whitfield, Andy Barr, and Brett Guthrie.

Members of Kentucky’s congressional delegation have signed a letter asking the federal Drug Enforcement Administration for clarification of regulations regarding industrial hemp.

Hornback sponsored the legislation that creates an administrative framework, to be managed by the Kentucky Department of Agriculture, for industrial hemp production in Kentucky. The legislation calls for hemp demonstration projects by the University of Kentucky and other public universities that choose to participate. Under the bill, the Kentucky State Police are required to conduct background checks on applicants for licenses to grow industrial hemp.

The bill passed in the final hour of this year’s legislative session in March.

From Kentucky Department of Agriculture

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