Kentucky hemp bill heads back to House


FRANKFORT, Ky. (WTVQ) – Legislation designed to help Kentucky’s fledgling hemp industry passed the state Senate by a 37-0 vote.

Known as House Bill 236, the measure would conform Kentucky’s hemp laws to federal guidelines that changed after the passage of the 2018 U.S. Farm Bill. That bill removed hemp from the list of federally controlled substances, which allowed farmers across the nation to grow hemp legally.

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“Make no mistake, this industry is a new industry,” said Sen. Paul Hornback, R-Shelbyville, who stood to explain HB 236 on the Senate floor yesterday. “It is in its infancy and it does have problems. Those are growing pains. We all recognize that.”

Hornback said hemp isn’t something farmers are going to “get rich quick” by growing, but he thinks it will ultimately become a sustainable crop for Kentucky’s agriculture industry. Hornback said Kentucky farmers grew more hemp than they could sell last year. He said the same happened with milk, corn, soybeans, chicken and swine.

“We are the best at running ourselves out of business,” said Hornback, who is also a farmer.

Other provisions of HB 236 would expand the number of laboratories authorized to test the state’s hemp crop for tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), a psychoactive component found in hemp and other types of cannabis. THC testing of the state’s hemp crop is now handled by the University of Kentucky, which has experienced a testing backlog over the past year.

Hornback said HB 236 would also clarify that companies could transport hemp extract with higher concentrations of THC between processing facilities.


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Tom Kenny joined ABC 36 News in June of 2001 as a General Assignment Reporter. A native of Peoria, Illinois, he graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communications from Western Illinois University. He currently anchors ABC 36 News at 5pm, 6pm and 11pm. Tom has more than three decades of experience in broadcast journalism. He is the only broadcast journalist in Lexington television history to be honored with a national Edward R. Murrow Award. Tom was recognized for reporting on a story that gave a rare glimpse inside the secretive world of the Federal Witness Protection Program. He has won an Emmy Award for anchoring and another for investigative reporting, exposing the deceit and potential danger of online diploma mills. Tom has ten other Emmy nominations to his credit for investigative and feature reporting. He has won Associated Press Awards for reporting and anchoring. He has won two Addy Awards for excellence in promotional writing. Tom was the first broadcast journalist in Lexington TV history to be awarded the Silver Circle Award by the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. It is one of the highest honors given by NATAS. It recognizes television professionals who have performed distinguished service within the television industry for 25-years or more. Tom was honored for more than his longevity, he was recognized for making an enduring contribution to the vitality of the television industry and for setting high standards of achievement. He was also recognized for giving back to the community as a mentor, educator and volunteer. Tom also has network broadcast experience in radio and television having worked as a sports reporter for ESPN, Sportschannel, NBC Sports and the Breeders’ Cup. He was also the studio host and halftime producer for CBS Radio Sports’ College Football Game of the Week and covered the NFL for One-On-One Radio Sports. Prior to joining WTVQ-TV, Tom was Vice-President of the Houston Astros Minor League baseball team in Lexington. He was part of the original management team that brought professional baseball back to the Bluegrass after a nearly 50-year absence. Tom has lived in Lexington since 1984. In that time, he has been heavily involved with dozens of charity and civic groups, with a special emphasis on helping Veterans. He can be reached at You can also follow Tom on Facebook and Twitter @TomKennyNews. Just click on the links at the top of the page.