Published On: Mon, Feb 11th, 2013

Kentucky hemp bill approved unanimously in Senate committee, Sen. Rand Paul and former CIA director James Woolsey testify

Today, a Senate bill to legalize the growing of hemp cruised though the Kentucky Senate agriculture committee without opposition, and not the bill, SB 50, sponsored by Sen. Paul Hornback will head to the Senate floor where it is expected to pass.

Sen. Rand Paul testifying to Ky. Senate Agriculture Committee in support of industrial hemp legalization bill. Image/Courier/Journal Video Screen Shot

Sen. Rand Paul testifying to Ky. Senate Agriculture Committee in support of industrial hemp legalization bill.
Image/Courier/Journal Video Screen Shot

A gathering of heavyweights came to testify in support of the bill today including U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, U.S. Reps. John Yarmuth and Thomas Massie, former Director of Central Intelligence R. James Woolsey (Clinton Administration), and Commissioner of Agriculture James Comer.

Senator Paul, who claimed to be sporting a hemp shirt bought in Canada for the testimony said, “It’s a crop that’s legal everywhere else in the world except the United States.”

“I see no reason why we wouldn’t want to be a leader in this,” said Paul, “If I thought this was going to allow marijuana to take off in our state, I wouldn’t be for it.”

US Representatives Yarmuth and Massie—a Democrat and Republican, respectively—told the committee they support the bill for economic reasons.

Kentucky Agricultural Commissioner James Comer said Friday before the vote, “I don’t know what the economic viability of this is,” mentioning a recent program where he was with the Kentucky State Police Commissioner Rodney Brewer who claimed that growing hemp was not economically viable.

Comer said, “With all due respect to the Kentucky State Police Commissioner, I don’t care if he thinks it’s economically viable or not. It’s not up to a state employee of bureaucrat to determine if something is economically viable, that’s left up to the private market place.”

As Mr. Comer stated, not everyone in Kentucky was in favor of the Hornback bill. The Kentucky State Police and the Kentucky Narcotic Officer’s Association (KNOA) have been vocal opponents of SB 50.

Kentucky State Police Commissioner Rodney Brewer told legislators his  concerns that illegal marijuana would be grown in hemp fields without hemp farmers knowing.  He also said that testing whether a plant was hemp or marijuana would be expensive and taxing on a state lab that is already overburdened.

In an official position paper from the KNOA last November it states, “There is no economically sound or environmentally reasonable justification for the reintroduction and legalization of cannabis hemp cultivation. Cannabis hemp can be abused as a drug and hemp farming would greatly complicate drug law enforcement activities.”

The bill would establish oversight for Kentucky  industrial hemp farmer if hemp were made legal federally.

SB 50 would require growers to be licensed annually and undergo a background check by the Agriculture Department. Each licensee would be required to plant a minimum of 10 acres, a provision meant to keep licenses from people who are not serious about the effort.

Growers would have to keep sales contracts for three years and provide names of hemp buyers to the department.

Just last week, Kentucky’s senior Senator and Senate Minority Leader, Mitch McConnell said, “After long discussions with Senator Rand Paul and Commissioner James Comer on the economic benefits of industrialized hemp, I am convinced that allowing its production will be a positive development for Kentucky’s farm families and economy.”


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About the Author

- Writer, Co-Founder and Executive Editor of The Global Dispatch. Robert has been covering news in the areas of health, world news and politics for a variety of online news sources. He is also the Editor-in-Chief of the website, Outbreak News Today and hosts the podcast, Outbreak News Interviews on iTunes, Stitcher and Spotify Robert is politically Independent and a born again Christian Follow @bactiman63

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  1. Industrial hemp bill passes Kentucky House and Senate, Rand Paul pledges assistance from Capitol Hill - The Global Dispatch says:

    […] a follow-up to a story last month, the Kentucky state Legislature passed Kentucky Senate Bill 50, which would set up a framework to […]

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