Kentucky’s hemp farmers will receive 250 pounds of hemp seeds held up by federal officials at Louisville International Airport for the last week after much legal wrangling by the state.
According to Holly VonLuehrte, an attorney for the Kentucky Department of Agriculture, says she’ll have the shipment at the Ag Department office sometime later today. However, the delay could mean that hemp harvests may not have time to fully develop before harvest season.
Feds held up the seeds originally in Chicago but they were released only to be held up again in Louisville by U.S. Customs on an order from the Drug Enforcement Administration. State officials had to sue the DEA, arguing that the holdup could potentially ruin any chance of getting hemp in the ground before June 1 – a deadline most farmers say can’t be overstepped without severely compromising the harvest. State officials also argued that their hemp pilot program, which allows eight plots of hemp to be farmed this year mostly for research, is airtight.
DEA chief Michele Leonhart – who has been a real hard-ass when it comes to marijuana in recent years – eventually okayed the delivery Wednesday after speaking with Kentucky Sen. Mitch McConnell, who urged her to lighten up. McConnell said he was pleased with the outcome.
“I’m hoping this is the final hurdle and Kentucky will soon be able to plant the seeds in the ground and begin our lawful pilot programs in exploring the potential for job creation in our Commonwealth,” he told the Courier-Journal.