By RONNIE ELLIS
Proponents of legalizing industrial hemp in Kentucky say momentum for their cause is growing. But, some key law enforcement agencies still aren’t enamored of the idea.
Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner James Comer convened the resurrected Kentucky Hemp Commission for a meeting Monday by saying: “We are very aggressively seeking the input from law enforcement.”
But just before the meeting began, a law enforcement official on the commission issued a press release opposing legalizing the plant, which is biologically similar to marijuana, although it contains only trace amounts of the chemical THC, which produces the marijuana high.
Dan Smoot, of the Kentucky Association of Chiefs of Police and president of Operation UNITE, a drug education, treatment and enforcement organization working in eastern Kentucky, said supporters are looking “through rose-colored glasses if they believe hemp production would be a good alternative crop or provide an economic boon.”
He said there isn’t a great demand for the crop and legalizing its production “would create more problems than benefits and is currently not permitted under federal law.”
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