Glasgow Daily Times, Glasgow, KY

Opinion

May 29, 2014

OUR VIEW: Hemp movement good for state agriculture

GLASGOW — On Tuesday, hemp was legally planted in Kentucky soil, potentially moving the state a step closer to injecting some economic juice into the agricultural environment. It’s too soon to know whether the long fight to bring marijuana’s less-potent cousin back to the commonwealth will result in a potent financial boost for Kentucky, but we believe those who worked to reach this point deserve credit.

Chief among them is Commissioner of Agriculture James Comer, a Tompkinsville native and Western Kentucky University graduate who stared down the federal government in recent weeks over the importation of hemp seeds from Italy. Comer won, and test hemp plots are being planted at more than a dozen locations around the state, according to The Associated Press.

It’s been decades since industrial hemp – which can be used for an array of products, ranging from rope to lotion – has been grown in Kentucky, so growers’ knowledge of the crop has understandably waned. Several universities are involved in research that will determine the best approaches to producing thriving hemp crops.

If all goes well, Kentucky farmers could soon have another money-making option on their land. Not only that, but Kentucky could be on the forefront of a resurgent hemp industry, considering what’s happening in the Bluegrass is being watched closely by several other states interested in making similar moves.

Comer and others involved in the hemp movement took a stand for the agricultural industry, and by extension the entire state. It’s hard to imagine hemp’s return having anything but a positive effect on Kentucky’s economic future.

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