Legislature passes industrial hemp bill in Ky.

March 27, 2013 - 12:27 AM

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — Kentucky's Legislature has approved a bill that would allow the state to quickly license hemp growers if the federal government ever lifts a ban on the crop.

Both chambers overwhelmingly passed the measure late Tuesday night, before lawmakers adjourned their 2013 session.

House Floor Leader Rocky Adkins said the measure would position Kentucky to quickly become a top producer of industrial hemp if federal officials change the plant's classification as a controlled substance.

Once a politically taboo idea, growing hemp has become an increasingly popular idea among Kentucky's elected leaders.

Hemp thrived as a crop in Kentucky generations ago but has been banned for decades. Agriculture Commissioner James Comer believes hemp could be an important crop for Kentucky farmers again.