Comer speaks on industrial hemp at conference in Lexington

Eric Steenstra, right, executive director of the Hemp Industries Association, presents Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner James Comer with a leadership award for his work in restoring industrial hemp production to the Bluegrass State following Commissioner Comer's address to the HIA Conference on Monday in Lexington. (Kentucky Department of Agriculture photo)

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) -Kentucky Agricultural Commissioner James Comer predicted a booming future for industrial hemp in the state at the Hemp Industries Association Conference in Lexington on Monday.

“In the future, I think we’re going to go from 1,700 acres to 10,000 acres to 20,000 acres to 40,000 acres” of industrial hemp planted in Kentucky, Commissioner Comer said. “We’re going to be making things that range from parts in the automotive industry to parts in the construction industry to pharmaceuticals. [Kentucky] is going to be the epicenter of industrial hemp production in America.”

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Comer credited U.S. Sens. Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul, U.S. Reps. Thomas Massie and John Yarmuth, all of Kentucky, and Kentucky state Sen. Paul Hornback for supporting federal and state legislation that opened the door for Kentucky’s industrial hemp pilot projects.

Commissioner Comer said industrial hemp still encounters obstacles from federal and state government. “We’re going to keep working to try to have open dialogue with these government bureaucracies and hope that we can continue to make progress and continue to grow the industry,” Commissioner Comer said.