Key hemp proponents and legislative leaders headed to Washington D.C. this week to make the case for legalizing industrial hemp. Agriculture Commissioner James Comer, Kentucky Sen. Paul Hornback and hemp commission member Jonathan Miller have joined forces in a bipartisan effort to meet with White House officials, the U.S. Departments of Agriculture and Energy and Environmental Protection Agency and congressional leaders in the House and Senate.
The trio plans to discuss the details of Kentucky’s recently passed SB 50 and how it positions Kentucky to be the perfect test case for growing hemp. SB 50 created the regulatory framework for the production of industrial hemp in the Commonwealth, but the state must first receive a waiver from current federal law (which bans the production of hemp) or a new law must be passed.
Rep. Thomas Massie and Sen. Rand Paul have introduced a bill that would distinguish hemp from marijuana, thus making it legal to farm anywhere in the country. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell also has signed on to sponsor the bill and Reps. John Yarmuth and Bret Guthrie have also voiced their strong support for the legislation.
But Comer’s and his allies say their top priority is making sure Kentucky is first in the race to produce industrial hemp.
“If we want to have the crop in the ground by next year, we need to have a clear indication that they will allow this to happen by late fall. No farmer will plant without a contract to sell, and the producers need to be established here by next spring,” Comer said.
Stay tuned for updates as Kentucky’s leaders press this issue in Washington D.C. or click here to fill out a petition encouraging your federal elected officials to legalize industrial hemp.