Kentucky becomes first state to apply for USDA approval for its hemp program

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Kentucky is the first state to apply for the US Department of Agriculture’s approval of its hemp program.

Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles was at the farm bill signing in Washington and delivered the Commonwealth’s plan to USDA leadership.

The federal farm bill that passed last week requires each state to get approval from the USDA.

The legislation removes industrial hemp from the federal Controlled Substances Act and gives hemp growers access to USDA programs, like crop insurance.

Individuals and businesses must be licensed by the Kentucky Department of Agriculture to grow or process industrial hemp in the Commonwealth.

The KDA has received more than 1,000 applications to participate in the state’s industrial hemp research pilot program in 2019.

Under Kentucky’s industrial hemp research pilot program, the KDA works closely with state and local law enforcement officers and provides GPS coordinates of approved industrial hemp planting, processing, and storage sites to law enforcement before any hemp is planted.

Participants are required to pass background checks and allow law enforcement officers to inspect where hemp is being grown, handled, stored, or processed.

To see Kentucky Commissioner Quarles’ state plan,  click here.

For the latest breaking news and stories from across the Tri-State, follow Eyewitness News on Facebook and Twitter.

(This story was originally published on December 20, 2018)

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