Kentucky’s Agriculture Commissioner James Comer believes in hemp’s power to pull his state out of financial distress; so do the state’s voters. Now it’s up to Governor Steve Beshear to finish the job and sign the bill that would make industrial hemp legal.
SB 50 would enable the state to act quickly to issue licenses and begin commmercial production of the multi-purpose plant once federal bans on hemp are lifted. The Kentucky legislature passed the bills in the last few minutes of Tuesday’s General Assembly. The numbers were staggeringly supportive: 35 – 1 in the Senate and 88 – 4 in the House.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell pledged his support for the Bill in January. Outspoken Kentucky Senator Rand Paul was quick to issue a press statement. Early Wednesday morning he had this to say about the issue of industrial hemp in his home state:
“I commend the Kentucky General Assembly for final passage of Senate Bill 50. I want to thank Kentucky Commissioner of Agriculture James Comer, Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Paul Hornback and the members of the Kentucky Industrial Hemp Commission for their leadership and hard work in passing this legislation.”
“Senate Bill 50 is an important step forward in the reintroduction of industrial hemp in Kentucky. I have pledged, along with Rep. John Yarmuth, to seek a waiver when a regulatory framework is in place. I will follow through on that pledge and I hope that Kentucky will soon start growing hemp, creating jobs and leading the nation in this industry again.”
Paul delivered a speech to the Senate Agriculture Committee earlier this year while wearing a Canadian-bought hemp shirt; afterward, the Committee unanimously approved SB 50 for a full Senate vote. The Hemp Industries Association reports the value of the US market in imported hemp products was $452 million in 2011.
Source: The Compassion Chronicles