Hemp Seeds Face One Final Hurdle Before Making Into Kentucky Soil

May 8, 2014


Hemp Seeds
Credit Erik Fenderson (Wikimedia Commons)

A shipment of hemp seeds from Italy has made it to Kentucky, but there’s a problem.

Customs officials in Louisville have so far refused to release the 250 pound shipment to the state Agriculture Department.

While Kentucky law was recently changed to allow the growing of hemp for university-run research projects, federal customs officials are still leery of signing off on the seed shipments. State officials say the confusion is holding up hemp seeds from getting to project locations in the commonwealth.

“I spoke with a customs official in Chicago, and once I advised her of what the law is, and what we’re doing at the Department of Agriculture, customs in Chicago released the seeds to Louisville, and now it’s just a question of getting everyone on the same page,” said Holly Harris VonLuehrte, chief of staff at the Kentucky Department of Agriculture.

VonLuehrte told Kentucky Public Radio Thursday afternoon that she thinks customs officials will sign off on the hemp seeds within “the next 24 hours.”

The shipment of seeds from Italy is designated to supply three pilot hemp projects in Kentucky.

The state agriculture department has a previous shipment of hemp seeds ready for planting next week in Rockcastle County, home to a pilot hemp project being conducted by Kentucky State University.