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Feds release hemp seeds to Kentucky officials

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) - A nearly 300-pound shipment of hemp seeds detained by federal officials for two weeks has been delivered to Kentucky's Agriculture Department.

The seeds that spurred a legal fight are expected to be planted in Kentucky soil in the coming days for research projects.

The seed from Italy arrived on a UPS truck Friday at the department's office in Frankfort.

Holly Harris VonLuehrte, chief of staff to state agriculture commissioner James Comer, says the seeds will be divided into batches for pilot projects around the state. Six universities are helping with the research.

The seeds were sprung from confinement after federal drug officials approved a permit Thursday, ending the standoff. The state agriculture department sued the federal government after the shipment was stopped by U.S. Customs in Louisville earlier this month.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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A Kentucky Agriculture Department official says the state has received a federal permit to release an impounded shipment of hemp seeds for spring planting.

Holly Harris VonLuehrte is chief of staff to Agriculture Commissioner James Comer. She says the department anticipates getting the seeds by Friday.

Kentucky's pilot hemp projects for research were put on hold after the 250-pound seed shipment was stopped by U.S. customs officials in Louisville earlier this month. The state's Agriculture Department sued the federal government in hopes of freeing the seeds.

Eight test projects are planned in Kentucky as part of a small-scale comeback for the long-banned crop.

Hemp's return was spurred by the new federal farm bill, which allows state agriculture departments to designate hemp pilot projects for research in states such as Kentucky that allow hemp growing.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


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