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Erwin A. "Bud" Sholts, Chairman

 

 

Kentucky Governor Under Pressure to Sign – or Veto – Hemp Legislation

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NAIHC.org, April 2, 2013 – Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear (D) faces a Saturday deadline to sign or veto compromise legislation designed to allow Kentucky farmers to once again grow industrial hemp. If he fails to act, the bill will become law.

Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner James Comer championed the Kentucky legislation and hopes to re-start industrial hemp growing in the state by obtaining a federal waiver “to do a pilot project very soon.” U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, U.S. Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) and U.S. Congressmen John Yarmuth (D-KY) and Thomas Massie (D-KY) all support industrial hemp production and are working on passing federal legalization legislation.

Currently, industrial hemp remains banned under the federal Controlled Substances Act because the plant is related to marijuana.

 In legislative hearings on the industrial hemp bill, NAIHC board members along with Sen. Rand Paul and others worked hard to provide accurate information about industrial hemp. Along with pointing to job-creating economic benefits, supporters of the bill refuted opponents' claims that marijuana growers could hide their illegal crop within fields of legal industrial hemp.

Kentucky State Police officials testified that they would find it difficult to distinguish between the two related plants. Proponents of legalizing the non-drug-containing industrial hemp insisted that any marijuana grown anywhere in the vicinity of industrial hemp would become worthless due to cross-pollination.

With four days to go, Gov. Beshear faces the task of deciding between believing that industrial hemp would bring jobs or believing discredited claims that legalizing industrial hemp would benefit marijuana growers.

For more background on Kentucky’s industrial hemp bill, read Kentucky Legislature Passes Industrial Hemp Bill and NAIHC Board Members Back Kentucky Industrial Hemp Bill.