Kentucky's Effort To Win Release Of Hemp Seed Stalls

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Associated Press

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Updated Wed, May 14, 2014 4:49 pm

UPDATE 4:50 p.m. Kentucky's Agriculture Department has filed a lawsuit seeking the release of imported hemp seeds being held up by federal officials.

Defendants in the suit filed Wednesday in Louisville include the U.S. Justice Department, the Drug Enforcement Administration and U.S. Customs and Border Protection. The Justice Department did not immediately comment when contacted.

The state Agriculture Department wants to distribute the seeds for use in pilot projects that would be Kentucky's first hemp crop in decades.

Holly Harris VonLuehrte, chief of staff to state Agriculture Commissioner James Comer, says federal officials wanted the state to apply for a permit.

She says a permit is unnecessary. She points to the federal farm bill, which allows state agriculture departments to designate hemp pilot projects for research in states such as Kentucky that allow the growing of hemp.


A Kentucky Agriculture Department official says talks aimed at securing a shipment of imported hemp seeds have stalled.

The seeds from Italy are meant for use in pilot projects that would be Kentucky's first hemp crop in decades.

Holly Harris VonLuehrte, chief of staff to state Agriculture Commissioner James Comer, said Wednesday that federal drug enforcement officials want the state to apply for a permit to win release of the seeds held by customs officials.

She says a permit is unnecessary and would put undue requirements on the test projects. She points to the new federal farm bill, which allows state agriculture departments to designate hemp pilot projects for research in states such as Kentucky that allow the growing of hemp.

The Drug Enforcement Administration did not offer an immediate response when contacted.

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