OLR Bill Analysis

SB 603



This bill requires the agriculture commissioner, by July 1, 2018, to adopt regulations establishing a pilot program for growing or cultivating industrial hemp in accordance with federal law (see BACKGROUND). The pilot program must study the growth, cultivation, and marketing of industrial hemp through sites certified by, and registered with, the Department of Agriculture.

In developing the regulations, the commissioner must review and incorporate the Kentucky Department of Agriculture's (KDA) Industrial Hemp Research Pilot Program 2017 Policy Guide as appropriate and consistent with federal law. The policy guide, which KDA issued on October 11, 2016, outlines policies and procedures for hemp growers, processors, and handlers under Kentucky's industrial hemp research program.

Under the bill, “industrial hemp” is any part of the Cannabis sativa L. plant, whether growing or not, with a delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) concentration of no more than 0.3% on a dry weight basis. This is the same definition as is used in federal law. (THC is the principal psychoactive ingredient in cannabis. Generally, 1% THC is considered the threshold for inducing intoxication or psychotropic effects.)

EFFECTIVE DATE: Upon passage


Related Federal Law

The 2014 Agricultural Act (also known as the U.S. Farm Bill) allows a higher education institution or state agriculture department to grow or cultivate industrial hemp under a pilot program or other research program that meets certain conditions, if allowed by state law (7 U.S.C. 5940).

Also, the federal Controlled Substances Act defines marijuana to include all parts of the Cannabis sativa L. plant regardless of THC level (21 U.S.C. 802(16)). Hemp is a variety of Cannabis sativa, and therefore is regulated by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency.

Related State Law

PA 15-202 legalized industrial hemp under state law, allowing it to be grown, used, and sold in Connecticut. It did so by removing industrial hemp from the definitions of marijuana and cannabis-type substances (CGS 21a-240).


Environment Committee

Joint Favorable