Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner Dr. Ryan Quarles announced this week that his state will not submit draft hemp regulations to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, opting instead to remain under the auspices of the 2014 Farm Bill’s pilot program provisions through 2020.
The move will allow Kentucky hemp farmers a bit of breathing room, a chance to regroup and watch the federally legalized hemp marketplace settle into itself a bit. And the wariness is not unfounded. Quarles said that he landed on this decision “after much discussion with industry stakeholders in Kentucky.”
He said that his office fears a degree of overreach on the part of the USDA. And this comes more than a year after Quarles eagerly submitted his state’s original plan to the USDA, before President Trump’s signature had even dried on the 2018 Farm Bill. (A federal government shutdown that same week immediately stalled Kentucky’s plans. Here we are now.)
Earlier this month, the Kentucky Hemp Industries Association published an open letter that urged Quarles to run with this idea.
“The Kentucky Hemp Industries Association is very close to our membership, with boots on the ground all over the state,” KYHIA President Mitchell “Tate” Hall said in the public statement. “Everyone broadly supports the Kentucky Hemp Pilot Program and the efforts of the KDA, as we attempt to build hemp as a predictable, new industry.”