Kentucky hemp program taking cultivation applications

Want to grow hemp? Kentucky might be a solid bet – especially because it’s among the nation’s largest hemp crops, one that is expanding.

The state’s Department of Agriculture is now accepting applications from anyone interested in participating in the 2017 hemp-growing pilot program, which will likely result in thousands of acres being planted, if 2016 is any gauge.

This past year, the state authorized up to 4,500 acres of industrial hemp to be grown, but only about 2,350 were actually planted, WTVQ reported. Although that number may sound small, the program began with just 33 acres in 2014.

While 29 states permit hemp cultivation, most of today’s domestic crop comes from Colorado and Kentucky. Kentucky does not have a medical marijuana law, but in 2014 the governor signed a law making it legal for epilepsy patients to use CBD oil with a doctor’s recommendation. The CBD oil – which is derived from hemp – cannot be transported out of state.

Hopeful hemp growers need to get applications to the Kentucky Department of Agriculture by Nov. 14, and an outline of requirements can be found on the agency’s website.

The application fee costs $50, and applicants can’t have any drug-related misdemeanors or felony convictions from the last decade. There’s a background check, and GPS coordinates of any proposed grow site must be included in the application.