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FRANKFORT – The Kentucky Senate approved by a 31-6 vote today a bill that would regulate the growing of hemp in the state if the crop is legalized by the federal government.
Senate Bill 50, sponsored by Sen. Paul Hornback, R-Shelbyville, would make the state Department of Agriculture responsible for monitoring industrial hemp. Farmers wishing to grow hemp in Kentucky would register yearly with the department and would be required to submit to criminal background checks before receiving a license to raise the crop.
According to Sen. Hornback, hemp is a good alternative to tobacco and other crops and has been successfully grown in Kentucky in the past. If legalized, the crop could also boost the state’s economy by generating new jobs and revenue, he said.
Industrial hemp can be used in the production of ropes, fabrics, plastics and a variety of other goods.
Hornback told lawmakers the measure would give Kentucky a market edge if the crop is legalized federally.