‘Dumbfounded’: Kentucky official blasts DEA’s hemp position

Add Kentucky and Colorado agriculture officials to the list of people who disagree with federal drug authorities about hemp.

Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles has written to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration requesting a meeting about hemp, according to the Louisville Courier-Journal.

“I was dumbfounded” to read about the DEA’s position that hemp-derived CBD oils are illegal, even if they contain no THC, Quarles wrote to the DEA.

“Consumable hemp products are legal to buy,” Quarles said.

Colorado’s industrial hemp chief, Duane Sinning, told the newspaper he agrees with his Kentucky colleague.

“Agriculture laws are not really that hard, unless you get the DEA involved and they want to make it hard,” said Sinning, who is assistant director of Colorado Department of Agriculture’s plant industry division.

Quarles requested a January meeting with the DEA’s acting administrator, Robert Patterson.

But the DEA seems unwilling to talk.

“He’s knocking on the wrong door,” DEA spokesman Melvin Patterson told the Courier Journal. “Unless Congress changes (the Controlled Substances Act), we’re going to continue to do our jobs.”

The DEA will defend its hemp position in February, when the Hemp Industries Association and businesspeople challenge the agency’s position in federal appeals court.