Feb 14, 2013 3:55 PM
FRANKFORT (AP) - The comeback of industrial hemp in Kentucky has gained ground with state Senate passage of a bill to regulate the crop if the current federal ban is lifted.
The bill cleared the Senate on a 31-6 vote Thursday.
It now heads to the House, where its prospects are much less certain.
Industrial hemp once thrived in Kentucky, but the crop has been banned for decades since the federal government classified it as a controlled substance related to marijuana.
Hemp supporters say its reemergence can help farmers and create jobs turning its seeds and fiber into products.
Opponents doubt hemp's economic potential and worry it will complicate marijuana eradication efforts.
State Sen. Chris Girdler Pulaski County, who opposed the bill, compared growing hemp to growing the novelty plants known as Chia Pets.
(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)
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