Members of Vote Hemp and other groups are descending on the nation’s capital for Hemp Lobby Day to convince Congress to lift a federal ban on the plant for industrial use.
Earlier this year Kentucky lawmakers approved the research and cultivation of hemp, but it has yet to be implemented because the federal government still considers the crop a controlled substance. The dilemma has pitted two potential gubernatorial candidates against one another: Hemp supporter and state Agricultural Commissioner James Comer, and Attorney General Jack Conway.
Conway issued an opinion in September stating that under the federal ban, hemp remains illegal in the state.
“Sometimes it’s my job to say what the law is, not what I want the law to be," said Conway. "I support industrial hemp, I think we can make it work. If it can create jobs, great. Now, is it the panacea for all of Kentucky’s agricultural woes? I don’t know.”
Conway said he wants to meet with Comer on the issue in the coming weeks.
"The way I operate is to try and build relationships, and I will invite Jamie down to talk about this," said Conway. "My intention has always been to let it cool down for a couple weeks and sit down and talk with him."
Comer will not attend Monday's rally, but he has lobbied federal lawmakers in the past.
Most of Kentucky's delegation, including Senators Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul, are supportive.