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Kentucky Bill Tackles Issue of Transporting Hemp
Kentucky Ag Connection - 01/23/2020

Legislation affecting Kentucky's burgeoning hemp industry is the first to clear the Kentucky House during the 2020 General Assembly.

The bill's sponsor, Rep. Matthew Koch, R-Paris, told his colleagues it has the endorsement of The Kentucky Hemp Association and Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles.

"This bill incorporates language and recent guidelines issued by the U.S. Department of Agriculture relating to hemp," he told his colleagues on the House floor, according to reporter Tom Latek for Kentucky Today. "It also allows the University of Kentucky lab to contract with other labs to meet all the USDA standards for Kentucky hemp testing. It sets requirements for transporting hemp and hemp products, with at least a 24-hour notice, and it can be emailed to the Kentucky Department of Agriculture."

It also contains an emergency clause, meaning it would become effective upon the governor's signature, rather than take effect in July with other legislation.

Rep. Joe Graviss, D-Versailles, expressed support for the bill, adding, "We might want to consider a requirement to report the destination. We need to account for the fact they have received what the processor said they were sending, so it matches."

Graviss also wondered if the material would leave the state, to which Koch replied, "No sir. This bill is attempting to create a safe harbor for in-state transportation. We have no say on out of state transportation."

Rep. Wilson Stone, D-Scottsville said, "We have given birth to a fast-growing industry here and we certainly need to do everything we can to help the folks who put time and labor into it to allow them to be prosperous and our Commonwealth to be prosperous."

There were several members who complained the bill was stricter than federal law on the amount of THC allowed in the plants.

Still, the measure was approved on a 70-17 vote.

The bill now heads to the Senate for consideration.

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