Senate Bill 50

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Kentucky: Hemp Farming Can Move Ahead Under New DOJ Policy, Ag Commissioner Says


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner James Comer said on Friday this week's policy change by the U.S. Department of Justice, under which the DOJ agreed to defer any lawsuits against states which legalize recreational marijuana, also clears the way for farmers to begin growing industrial hemp in the Bluegrass State.

The DOJ announced the new policy on Thursday, allowing states to legalize and regulate the cultivation, sales and use of marijuana as long as the changes protect children and prevent cannabis from entering the black market, reports the Courier-Journal.

Comer called the federal policy reversal a "major victory" for Kentucky farmers; he had spearheaded a hemp bill through this year's session of the Legislature. Officials indicated hemp cultivation could begin within a year.

Hemp, like marijuana, is a variety of the cannabis plant, but industrial hemp is grown for the fiber in its stalks and for the nutritional oil in its seeds, which contain a favorable ratio of the essential fatty acids (EFAs), Omega 3-6-9. Federal law, however, treats hemp the same as marijuana.

"It's about time," Comer said. "Two years ago, the Obama administration would not even discuss the legalization of industrial hemp. But through a bipartisan coalition of Kentucky leaders, we forced their hand."

United States: Senate committee votes unanimously to support legalized hemp in Kentucky

By Reporter Brittany Pelletz, WKYT

There is a truth that must be heard! FRANKFORT, Ky. (WKYT) - The Senate Committee on Agriculture met in Frankfort Monday and unanimously voted to approve Senate Bill 50.

The Bill would license Kentucky farmers to grow hemp if federal restrictions are lifted.

Kentucky State Police Commissioner, Rodney Brewer expressed his concerns with legalizing hemp.

"We've heard that you can't get high off of hemp. You can get high off of hemp," says Brewer.

Brewer says hemp is very similar to marijuana. He believes legalizing it would lead to more crime throughout the commonwealth.

"In Kentucky last year we eradicated $441,000 illegal marijuana plants and arrested 524 people for cultivating marijuana," says Brewer.

Supporters of hemp feel confident the crops will be closely regulated. Many believe allowing it will help put Kentuckians back to work.

"I don't think it's going to replace corn. And I'm not up here saying that next year everybody is going to work for a hemp farm. But why not legalize something that could produce jobs? And probably will," says U.S. Senator Rand Paul.

United States: Kentucky business group gets behind industrial hemp, but hurdles remain

By Beth Musgrave,

There is a truth that must be heard!FRANKFORT — The Kentucky Chamber of Commerce joined a growing chorus of high-profile supporters on Friday who want to let Kentucky farmers grow industrial hemp, but the effort continues to face an uphill battle.

Bills have been filed in the House and Senate that would license farmers to grow the plant — a close cousin to marijuana — if the federal government lifts its ban on the crop. Such proposals have failed to gain traction with lawmakers in previous years, but sponsors of the two bills said they believe the measure has a better chance this year.

The board of the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce voted Friday to support the proposal and Republican Agriculture Commissioner James Comer has spent much of the past year aggressively lobbying state and federal leaders to lift the ban on hemp as a way to stimulate rural Kentucky economies.

Half of Kentucky's congressional delegation — Republican U.S. Reps. Thomas Massie and Andy Barr, Democratic U.S. Rep. John Yarmuth and Republican U.S. Sen. Rand Paul — have also supported efforts to legalize growing hemp.

Still, skeptics remain.

Senate President Robert Stivers, R-Manchester, said Friday that many Democratic and Republican senators remain uneasy with legalizing industrial hemp. Stivers said he did not know if the measure would pass the Republican-controlled Senate.

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