DEA lets hemp seeds through to Ky. Ag. Dept.; Officials coordinating shipment via UPS

05/22/2014 04:39 PM

Two-hundred fifty pounds of industrial hemp seeds will soon be released to the Kentucky Agriculture Department, said Holly Harris VonLuehrte, the agency’s spokesperson.

After a brief court battle the Drug Enforcement Agency has signed off on an import-export permit for the hemp seeds, which came from Italy.

The seeds will be used for five pilot projects to test the growth and industrial potential of the crop in Kentucky.

VonLuehrte said she the DEA signed off on the permit Thursday afternoon and that she would be coordinating shipment with UPS for delivery of the seeds on Friday.

With time running out in the planting season, Agriculture Commissioner James Comer filed an injunction in federal circuit court one week ago asking the DEA to release the seeds. DEA agents and and customs officials at the Louisville International Airport had been holding the shipment of the seeds, which had been illegal in the United States until the Farm Bill passed by Congress included a provision allowing the crop to be grown in Kentucky’s pilot projects.

Meanwhile, the the Agriculture Department has been fielding calls from other states that also are stuck in a legal limbo when it comes to the crop. Hemp is a cannabis plant but contains less THC, the chemical that gives marijuana its psychoactive properties.

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