By Associated Press - Thursday, January 30, 2020

LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) - Two Kentucky hemp companies, including one of the state’s largest, are facing bankruptcy proceedings.

Three creditors filed an involuntary bankruptcy petition against GenCanna in federal court in Lexington last week to force the company into Chapter 11 bankruptcy, the Lexington Herald-Leader reported Wednesday. The company, one of the state’s major producers, has 21 days to file a response.

Also this month, the owner of Sunstrand hemp company filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in federal court in Louisville, according to the newspaper.

GenCanna said in an email that payments to hemp growers for their crop under contract to the company are up to date and that the recent petition “is part of a legal dispute process” to which the company “will respond soon.” Sunstrand did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the Chapter 7 bankruptcy filing.

The proceedings come as Kentucky’s Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles issued a letter to the FDA on Tuesday arguing that the state’s hemp industry is facing “bureaucratic paralysis” threatening growers.

The market for CBD has plummeted since the FDA issued a warning in November on consuming CBD and sent warnings to 15 companies for improper marketing tactics, Quarles’ letter said.

Still, Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear and the Department for Local Government are investing in the industry, and announced a $1 million grant Tuesday for a Mount Vernon hemp company, news outlets reported.

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