LEXINGTON, Ky. — Kentucky’s agriculture commissioner says a preliminary review of the state’s experimental hemp program shows it had a multi-million-dollar economic impact.

Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles says the review shows Kentucky licensed processors paid the state’s growers $7.5 million for harvested hemp.

That’s according to an early analysis of 2017 processor production reports.

He says holders of hemp processor licenses reported $25.6 million in capital improvements and investments and $16.7 million in gross product sales.

Quarles says those numbers show hemp’s economic potential.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said he will push legislation to bring hemp production back into the mainstream by removing it from the controlled substances list that now associates the crop with marijuana. Quarles says the proposal offers the best chance to put hemp on the path toward commercialization.

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