There will be an educational forum on the benefits that medicinal cannabis has to offer to Kentucky and its citizens. Featuring support from state cannabis activists including members from Kentucky Cannabis Freedom Coalition (KCFC), Kentucky affiliate for the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (KY NORML), Kentuckians for Medicinal Marijuana (KY4MM), the Alliance […]
FRANKFORT, KY — The Kentucky House voted Wednesday to ask Congress to remove hemp from the definition of marijuana in the federal Controlled Substances Act. The request would be made under House Concurrent Resolution 35, sponsored by Rep. DJ Johnson, R-Owensboro, who told the House that hemp, like marijuana, is a variety of the cannabis […]
FRANKFORT, KY — Industrial hemp legally grown in Kentucky is not considered marijuana. It has only a fraction of THC—or tetrahydrocannabinol, a psychoactive compound—found in marijuana. And state regulators aim to keep it that way. Around 100 pounds of industrial hemp grown under Kentucky’s three-year old Industrial Hemp Research Pilot Program were destroyed just three […]
Kentucky ramping up hemp test production in 2016
Moises Vasquez carried an armload of hemp as a crew harvested 27 acres of hemp on an Andy Graves farm near Winchester in October 2015. John Roulac, founder and CEO of hemp superfoods brand Nutiva, is planning to announce that he will buy all the …
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Kentucky gears up for third year of hemp research projects
The Kentucky Department of Agriculture started these industrial hemp research projects to study production, processing and potential products. "It's important to note that Kentucky, back in 2014 reintroduced a crop that had not been seen for decades," …
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Nike Brings Back Hemp Sneaker for 4/20
Currently, millions of dollars worth of hemp are imported every year for American industries. Companies like Nike use hemp fibers in sneakers; our automobile industry uses hemp fibers to produce plastic and car door panelling. In 2014, we spent an …
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About an hour north of Nashville, in the farming country of Christian County, Kentucky, rural roads wind through miles of corn and tobacco fields.
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University of Kentucky researchers harvested the university’s first hemp crop in decades today.
“It was a good growing season for many crops, not just hemp,” said David Williams, UK College of Agriculture, Food and Environment agronomist and co-project lead. “Precipitation was excellent this year and more than adequate for growth. The only downside to the growing season was that we planted a little bit late, but I don’t think that had much effect on the crop.”
UK’s research plot, planted May 27, was one of the Kentucky Department of Agriculture’s pilot studies to reintroduce hemp production in Kentucky. UK’s study was conducted in conjunction with Eastern Kentucky University and Kentucky State University.
“Congratulations to the University of Kentucky and all of our partners in the hemp pilot projects on the first hemp crop in Kentucky in almost 70 years,” said Agriculture Commissioner James Comer, who has championed the cause of returning hemp production to the commonwealth. “This crop will yield significant data about production techniques, which varieties do best in Kentucky and which of the many uses of hemp are most likely to succeed here.”
Kentucky was a national leader in hemp production before the crop was outlawed in the United States due to its similarity to marijuana. Many agricultural advances have occurred since then, so research trials were necessary to determine the crop’s viability in an ever-changing agricultural economy.
UK researchers used a sickle bar mower to harvest the crop in the same manner that hay is harvested.
“Our plan was to simply lay the crop on the ground where the elements will begin to break down or ‘ret’ the hemp,” said Rich Mundell, co-project lead and an agronomist in the Kentucky Tobacco Research Development Center. “Because the hemp was very tall (about 10 feet) we felt the sickle bar mower would do a better job than a more commonly used disc mower.”
UK’s research project included 13 different varieties managed for either fiber production or seed production.
After the harvest, researchers will analyze and compare the different varieties to find one that’s best suited for the state and then present the results to the Kentucky Department of Agriculture. -Katie Pratt
Produced by The University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment. For additional questions or for more information on this story, please contact: David Williams, 859-257-2715; Rich Mundell, 859-257-6339
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Air Date: May 19th, 2014
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As legislators meet to decide the fate of industrial hemp in Kentucky several questions are left unanswered in the agriculture community.
Hemp has not been a legal crop in Kentucky since 1860, and Kentucky farmers could soon find out if they will be able to grow industrial hemp in the future.
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The Kentucky Senate recently passed a bill legalizing the industrial cultivation of hemp, paving way for farmers in the state to explore the economic viability of the plant.
Sen. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell working with Sen. Rand Paul, along with two senators from Oregon, introduced a bill that would allow farmers to begin growing the crop. They explained that expanding the hemp industry is a smart way to create jobs and add much needed economic opportunities to the state.
“This legislation has the potential to create jobs and provide a boost to Kentucky’s economy and to our farmers and their families,” McConnell told reporters during a press conference.
The two Senators from Oregon, Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley, are pushing hard for similar measures in their state, which recently voted against a measure that would have legalized marijuana for recreational use in the state.
But research suggests that the economic possibilities are real and is the main driving force behind these collective efforts. A report facilitated by the Hemp Industries Association published in January details that retail sales in the United States of products that used imported hemp were estimated to have been valued at over million in 2011 alone.
Hemp itself has been used by various civilizations over time and currently can be used in over 25,000 different applications. Hemp is used in building material and biofuels and can even be used in plastics, soap and clothes.
However, with the increased advocacy for state legislators to pass measures easing laws on Hemp, those in law enforcement are cautioning that increased hemp production would lead to an increase in illegal growers and that it is just as dangerous as marijuana.
“We’ve heard that you can’t get high off of hemp. You can get high off of hemp,” warned Kentucky State Police Commissioner Rodney Brewer.
Congressman Greg Stumbo, of Prestonsburg, echoed those thoughts saying the increased risk to law enforcement is not worth the possible economic benefit.
“It’s not that we’re saying ‘no,'” Stumbo told AP. “We’re simply saying that the evidence doesn’t show that there’s enough of a market to override the concerns that the law enforcement community has.”
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On Tuesday, March 26, the Kentucky General Assembly agreed to final passage of Kentucky Senate Bill 50, which would set up a framework to regulate industrial hemp in Kentucky. Sen. Paul has pledged to seek a waiver from the administration when a regulatory framework is in place. He has also introduced legislation at the federal level that removes restrictions on the production of industrial hemp.
“I commend the Kentucky General Assembly for final passage of Senate Bill 50. I want to thank Kentucky Commissioner of Agriculture James Comer, Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Paul Hornback and the members of the Kentucky Industrial Hemp Commission for their leadership and hard work in passing this legislation,” Sen. Paul said.
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