Kentucky's Agriculture Department has filed a lawsuit seeking the release of imported hemp seeds being held up by federal officials.
Defendants in the suit filed Wednesday in Louisville include the U.S. Justice Department, the Drug Enforcement Administration and U.S. Customs and Border Protection. The Justice Department did not immediately comment when contacted.
The state Agriculture Department wants to distribute the seeds for use in pilot projects that would be Kentucky's first hemp crop in decades.
Holly Harris VonLuehrte, chief of staff to state Agriculture Commissioner James Comer, says federal officials wanted the state to apply for a permit.
She says a permit is unnecessary. She points to the federal farm bill, which allows state agriculture departments to designate hemp pilot projects for research in states such as Kentucky that allow the growing of hemp.