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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) – Five hemp-related projects will be tried out at various higher-learning institutions starting in the spring.
UK, EKU and Murray State, among others, will research hemp production.
The recently-passed farm bill allows for this.
Kentucky senators Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul talked about hemp production Monday morning.
Paul said hemp production will likely benefit places like Knott County which, he said, has a 13.7% unemployment rate.
He said industrialized hemp production could bring in more than $87 million to this particular county and a billion for the state at large.
Not only is it part of what Paul and McConnell call an anti-poverty campaign, hemp production legislation is also seen as a bi-partisan success.
"This was passed by 80-90 percent of the legislature,” said Paul. “Republicans and Democrats worked together on this. You think we hate each other and we never work together. We did work together on hemp.
According to the University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service, hemp was widely grown in the U.S. until the mid-1800s- at that time Kentucky led the way in production.
That production dwindled, then picked back up during World War II, but then ended for good in 1958.
Hemp fibers can be used to make things like twine, paper, construction materials, carpeting, and clothing.
Seeds are used to make industrial oils, cosmetics, medicines, and food.
Hemp can also be used in bio-fuels.