Comer says justice department ruling greenlights hemp in Kentucky
For Immediate Release
Friday, August 30, 2013
For more information contact:
Holly Harris VonLuehrte
FRANKFORT, Ky. — In a landmark ruling, the Justice Department has reversed its policy and will honor state laws regarding regulated marijuana sales, Department officials said late Thursday. Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner James Comer, a national leader in the industrial hemp movement, believes the ruling includes the production of industrial hemp, and issued the following statement:
"It's about time! This is a major victory for Kentucky's farmers and for all Kentuckians. Two years ago, the Obama administration would not even discuss the legalization of industrial hemp," Comer said. "But through a bi-partisan coalition of Kentucky leaders, we forced their hand. We refused to listen to the naysayers, passed a hemp bill by a landslide, and our state is now on the forefront of an exciting new industry. That's called leadership."
Comer said the passage of Senate Bill 50, the industrial hemp bill spearheaded by Comer and sponsored by state Sen. Paul Hornback, was key to ensuring that Kentucky was ready to move when this ruling was issued. "Had we not passed the framework to responsibly administer a program, we would be lagging behind right now rather than leading the pack," Comer said. "I am so grateful to our federal delegation for its support, especially Sen. Rand Paul and Congressmen John Yarmuth and Thomas Massie, who courageously testified in support of this job-creating legislation."
Comer said that Brian Furnish, chairman of the Kentucky Industrial Hemp Commission, has called a meeting of the group for Sept. 12, 2013 at 10 a.m. EDT. Both Comer and Furnish will urge the Commission to move forward with the administrative framework established by SB 50. "My hope is that we can issue licenses and get industrial hemp in the ground within a year," Furnish said.