Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner Praises USDA Opinion on Hemp

May 29, 2019

Kentucky’s agriculture commissioner says a legal opinion from the USDA provides much needed certainty for the hemp industry. 

The U.S. Department of Agriculture says hemp can be transported across state lines, even through states that haven’t passed laws allowing the crop’s production.  The legal opinion notes the 2018 Farm Bill removed hemp from a federal list of controlled substances. 

“The policy announcement from the United States Department of Agriculture confirms what Kentucky has been saying all along: The 2018 Farm Bill made hemp legal nationwide, and it is unlawful for any state agency to interfere in the transportation of lawfully produced hemp," Quarles said in a statement.

Despite the legalization of hemp, authorities in some states have seized shipments and prosecuted truckers.  With more than a thousand licensed hemp growers and more than 56,000 acres of hemp production approved this year in Kentucky, Quarles says it’s important for the industry to have some certainty going forward. 

While states are free to prohibit the production of hemp, they still must allow it to be transported through their jurisdictions.  However, the crop must have been produced under a USDA license, by a USDA-approved state, or under a 2014 federal pilot project for hemp.