Conway says Ky. debate over hemp is meaningless until Congress acts

01/25/2013 02:24 PM

Attorney General Jack Conway said this week Kentucky can’t really have a “legitimate discussion” about legalizing industrial hemp unless the federal government legalizes it — the opposite of what other Kentucky officials have said this month.

Agriculture Commissioner James Comer has been leading the charge for industrial hemp, a crop which he says could become the third most lucrative industry in the state. And recently, Republican U.S. Sen. Rand Paul and U.S. Rep. John Yarmuth , D-Louisville, have said Kentucky could seek a federal waiver to start up the industry if the General Assembly sets up a framework to regulate it first.

Conway told Pure Politics’ Don Weber this week that he did not know if he would support legislation to pave a way for the state to begin growing the crop.

“I think our focus need to be at the federal level seeing if they, through our delegation, want to make changes. Then if they want to make changes then we have a dialogue with our law enforcement here,” Conway said (at :50).

But Conway, Kentucky’s top law enforcement official, also said advocates for hemp need to work with the Kentucky State Police, who have been among the biggest skeptics of the hemp proposal.

“Lets sit down with the KSP and say are you okay if it is grown so long as it is grown in licensed areas where we know what it is and we don’t have something that looks identical to marijuana being grown throughout the state and inhibiting our law enforcement efforts,” Conway said (in video below).

Jacqueline Pitts

Jacqueline Pitts joined the cn|2 political team in June 2012. A graduate of WKU, Jacqueline grew up in Nashville, TN and is looking forward to having a front row seat to Kentucky politics. Follow Jacqueline on Twitter @Jacqueline_cn2. She can be reached at 502-792-1114 or jacqueline.pitts@twcnews.com.

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