Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner James Comer today said he will send a letter co-signed by Sen. Rand Paul, R-Bowling Green, to the Department of Justice informing the department that Kentucky plans on moving forward with the regulation and cultivation of hemp.
Members of the Kentucky Industrial Hemp Commission approved the drafting of the letter during a meeting today hosted at the Kentucky Department of Agriculture offices in Frankfort.
The letter will allow the DOJ to voice any objections to the move before further action is taken, Comer said after the meeting.
Comer believes farmers in Kentucky will be able to grow hemp by next year.
Luke Morgan, a contract attorney for the Kentucky Department of Agriculture, told members of the commission that federal documents, including a DOJ ruling in August that it will honor state laws regulating marijuana sales provided strong regulations are put into place, allow the state to move forward with the implementation of Kentucky Senate Bill 50.
SB 50, which was passed in the 2013 legislative session, sets up a framework for the growth of hemp in the state.
However, Morgan advised that every opportunity should be given for federal authorities to voice objections.
Also up for discussion during the meeting were potential changes needed to SB 50 that would need approval from the General Assembly during the 2014 legislative session. Morgan is set to compile a proposal on potential changes for commission consideration.
The Daily News will bring you additional coverage of this story in Friday's paper.