Kentucky Lawmaker Pre-Files Bill to Legalize Pot, Plans to Use Taxes for Pensions

Kentucky is generally one of the slower states to adopt progressive cannabis laws. Currently, recreational weed remains illegal. So does medical marijuana. In fact, Kentucky is one of the 17 last states to implement some form of legal medical marijuana program.

However, all of that could be changing. This week, a lawmaker in the state pre-filed a new marijuana related bill. If the bill passes into law, it would bring sweeping changes to the state’s currently very restrictive weed laws.


Hemp application period underway in Kentucky

Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles says the state’s hemp licensing program for 2020 is underway.

Grower applications must be submitted by March 15 of next year. Processor applications may be submitted year-round. For the first time, the Kentucky Department of Agriculture is hosting an online application portal on its hemp webpage. The department oversees the state’s licensing program.

Quarles says he’s expecting the hemp program’s momentum to continue next year. In 2019, Kentucky’s hemp industry had nearly 1,000 growers and an influx of processors.


DEA says Kentucky has the most illicit cannabis plants per capita in the Country

One of the 17 states that has yet to legalize recreational or medicinal marijuana is the site of some of the most Drug Enforcement Administration raids in the country. Last year, DEA officials seized and destroyed 418,076 cannabis plants in Kentucky.

But where Kentucky really stood out was the proportion of those plants to the state’s residents. A recent analysis by the American Addiction Centers found that the DEA had busted a hearty 9,356 cannabis plants per 100,000 people living in the state.

California had the second most per capita DEA busts, but at 4,572 plants per 100,000 state residents, it’s hardly keeping up with the Bluegrass State.


Kentucky may soon legalize medical marijuana

House Bill 136 is Kentucky’s best chance at legalizing medical marijuana. And after gathering momentum throughout 2019, it will be one of the first bills on the legislative agenda in 2020. State Representative Jason Nemes, the bill’s primary co-sponsor, is confident he has the support of enough of his colleagues in the Legislature to move the legalization measure forward with a full vote. Kentucky is one of just 17 U.S. states that do not authorize any medical use of marijuana.


Will Kentucky Legislators finally pass a Medical Marijuana Bill next year?

A lot of the focus when it comes to news about cannabis naturally goes to the states that have legalized adult-use and medical marijuana. But it’s important to remember that more than a dozen states in the U.S. still don’t have anything approaching a decent medical cannabis program.


CBD processor suing Oregon farm over seed dispute

A CBD producer based in Lexington, Kentucky, is suing an Oregon company, claiming they were sold “worthless” hemp seeds that ruined what would have been a multi-million dollar crop.

According to Elemental Processing of Kentucky, this crop was “destined to help fulfill the country’s booming demand for CBD”. As stated in a recent survey, one in seven Americans are currently using CBD therapeutically, and that number continues to grow. 


A year into a resurrected hemp market, how are States handling it?

Since federal passage of the 2018 Farm Bill last December, interest in hemp farming has catalyzed a national industry reborn after decades of prohibition. Reports from state agriculture officials indicate that licensed hemp acreage for 2019 has more than tripled, with the number of hemp licenses issued having quadrupled since 2018. It is increasingly likely that the U.S. hemp industry will see more acreage planted this year than in 1943, the peak of cultivation during World War II.


Kentucky will begin accepting applications for 2020 Hemp Programs in mid-November

Kentucky’s hemp program is just about open for business.

The state said that it will begin accepting applications for growers and processors wishing to receive a license to participate in the program beginning in mid-November.

According to the Associated Press, Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles said the application period for growers and processors will both begin on November 15 and run to March 15 the following year, with the state aiming to ultimately move toward a year-round application process.


Hemp licenses issued by State 2019

  • The 29 U.S. states having reporting licensed hemp cultivation acreage total nearly half a million acres in combined cultivation land area, a massive increase over 2018's combined U.S. total of just over 100,000 acres.
  • Colorado leads the nation in hemp cultivation and processing land area with over 80,000 acres reported.
  • Oregon, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Montana lead in hemp program expansion efforts.
  • Tennessee leads in total hemp licenses issued in 2019.
  • At least 70% of the 2019 U.S. hemp harvest is intended for extract production.
  • California is poised to be the top-producing hemp state for both conventional and organic production as thousands of acres have already been planted in 2019.

Is hemp Kentucky's new cash crop?

As Kentucky looks to find a replacement for tobacco as a cash crop, Morehead State University is aiding the endeavor with research on hemp.

The Derrickson Agricultural Complex is home to the only hemp operation in Rowan County, where MSU associate professor Brent Rogers works with students on a variety of hemp research projects.

“There is kind of three prongs to hemp research here in the state right now and it’s fiber, seed and CBD,” said Rogers. “What we are growing is used to extract what is called CBD’s, cannabidiols, used medicinally.”

Morehead State University began hemp research in 2017 and has focused on three projects: herbicide research, a fertility study and fungicide research.


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