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Opponents Block Kentucky’s Popular Industrial Hemp Bill

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NAIHC.orgMarch 12, 2013 – In February the Kentucky Senate voted 31-6 in favor of industrial hemp legislation following an 11-1 vote by the Kentucky Senate Agriculture Committee. Then last week the Kentucky House Agriculture Committee voted 24-1 for the bill championed by Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner James Comer, a Republican. But Kentucky House Speaker Greg Stumbo, a Democrat, is denying the bill a House floor vote. The Kentucky bill would create a state regulatory framework for growing hemp in Kentucky whenever the crop is legalized nationally.

 Comer points out that “Never has such a popular bill received such overwhelming bipartisan support.” That support includes strong endorsements from U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), and U.S. Congressmen John Yarmuth (D-KY) and Thomas Massie (R-KY).

The Kentucky legislature is in recess until the final two days of its 2013 session, March 25 and 26. But in a last-ditch effort, Comer and other supporters hope to trigger a surge of public support to force a House vote during those last two days. Comer predicts that “if we get a vote, I am confident the bill will pass.”

Comer says that once the Kentucky bill is passed, his next step would be to “meet with lawyers in the Obama administration to try to get a waiver, to allow Kentucky to be the first state in the nation to grow industrial hemp.”

Read about the expert testimony provided by four NAIHC board members in the legislative hearings on the Kentucky industrial hemp bill.