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What is the Industrial Hemp Pilot Program in Kentucky?

Kentucky’s Industrial Hemp Pilot Program

“Industrial hemp (Cannabis sativa L.) is a versatile plant that can be grown for its fiber, seed or cannabinoids. Hemp fields were once a common sight in Kentucky during the state’s prominence as the leading hemp producer in the U.S. Although commercial hemp production ceased throughout North America in the late 1950s, there is currently renewed interest in growing this crop. While for many years hemp has faced significant legal obstacles due to its close relationship to the marijuana plant, there are a number of states, including Kentucky, working toward reviving the hemp industry. Section 7606 of the Agricultural Act of 2014 (the federal farm bill) authorized state departments of agriculture in states that have legalized hemp, including Kentucky, to develop pilot programs for industrial hemp research. The Kentucky Department of Agriculture has been working with universities, farmers and processors around the state since 2014 to implement pilot programs. The 2018 federal farm bill removes industrial hemp and its extracts, including cannabinoids, with not more than 0.3 percent delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) concentration on a dry-weight basis from the list of controlled substances. However, it is still illegal to grow or process hemp without a license.”