Murray State Eyeing Hemp Research

Aug 12, 2013

MURRAY, Ky. -- Officials with Murray State University are eyeing hemp research should the crop be made legal in a federal farm bill.

The dean of the university's agriculture school, Tony Brannon, said he'd be interested in research opportunities involving hemp and focusing on how effective the crop would be.

"Anytime a legal and newly recycled crop comes up, well, we are interested in how we can help," Brannon said. "We certainly want to stay in tune to opportunities that may arise and there would be a lot of investigation required there."

Congress is weighing a provision to allow research into hemp as part of the 2013 farm bill. Kentucky has been pushing for the federal government to either allow it to be grown for commercial use or research.

Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner James Comer told The Murray Ledger & Times that along with Murray State, the Toyota plant in Georgetown has already shown interest in using industrial hemp for manufacturing parts for the automobiles it produces.

So far, 19 states have passed hemp legislation, including nine that allow its production. Eight states have passed bills calling for the study of hemp, while three states passed bills setting up commissions or authorizing the study of it.

Congress is expected to decide the farm bill's fate in coming weeks.

Hemp production was effectively banned in the U.S. after the Cannabis sativa became associated with causing reckless behavior and was regulated as a drug in every state; 35 also adopted the Uniform State Narcotic Act of 1932 that was adopted by the Federal Bureau of Narcotics.