KY Police Advise Cop, Ag Department Cooperation on Hemp

Jul 11, 2019

Credit Lee Strubinger / SDPB

A Kentucky law enforcement official is stressing communication between state departments, should the state legalize industrial hemp production.

That came up during the first meeting of the industrial hemp study in Pierre.

Speaking to a South Dakota legislative task force, Kentucky State Police Lieutenant Colonel Jeremy Slinker says Kentucky law enforcement utilizes the state’s Ag department database on hemp fields.

“The more we’ve worked with our department of Agriculture, they are very good about updating the coordinates, updating fields. We use technology to try and be a little better at it, so most of our spotters that are looking for illegal marijuana grows from the air will have iPads with all the coordinates loaded into them," Slinker says. "Now, the ones we run into that are a little bit more challenging are usually a type of mistake, someone wrote down a wrong number.”

Slinker says the Kentucky State Police are still working out a drug interdiction process with their canine units. He says their dogs will pick up on hemp the same as marijuana.

Last session, the South Dakota legislature passed an industrial hemp program. Governor Kristi Noem vetoed the bill, siting concerns for law enforcement and lack of federal regulations.

Slinker says everything state law enforcement speculated would be an issue became an issue.

“My advice would be if law enforcement is advising you on things that they think will happen, most likely they’re probably accurate,” Slinker says. “So, if you decide to move on with the hemp program, put things into place that assist law enforcement to, again, keep it about agriculture and not marijuana.”

Slinker says kids and adults have stolen hemp crop from fields and attempted to sell it as marijuana.

Kentucky recently increased the minimum acreage requirement for hemp farmers. Slinker says that increase is still in it’s first year, but he says it’s increased the focus of hemp as an agriculture commodity and cut down on illegal grows.