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Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Hemp bill passes out of House panel with
one dissenting vote, now heads to full House

A bill that would set up an administrative framework for the re-introduction of industrial hemp into Kentucky’s economy cleared the House Agriculture and Small Business Committee this morning. Senate Bill 50 passed out of the committee with one dissenting vote, from Rep. Tommy Turner, and one abstention, from Rep. Terry Mills. It now goes to the full House for consideration.

SB 50, sponsored by Sen. Paul Hornback, passed out of the Senate in Feb. 14 by a 31-6 margin. But the bill stalled Feb. 27 when the House Agriculture and Small Business Committee Chairman Tom McKee adjourned the committee before a vote could be taken.

Under the bill, farmers wishing to grow hemp in Kentucky would register with the department and submit to criminal background checks before receiving licenses. Licenses would be renewed yearly.

Industrial hemp can be used in the production of ropes, fabrics, plastics, cosmetics and other merchandise.

Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner James Comer, a major supporter of the legislation, earlier said industrial hemp would be a good alternative to tobacco and other crops and could boost the state’s economy if it is legalized.

Currently, the growing of hemp is prohibited by federal law. U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Bowling Green, and U.S. Reps. John Yarmuth, D-Louisville, and Thomas Massie, R-Vanceburg, said they are working on legislation or an exemption for the Commonwealth that would lift that restriction.

Also under the bill, state and local law enforcement would receive notification of licenses with exact GPS coordinates of hemp crop locations. Crops not used for research purposes would be at least ten acres in size.

The bill also requires documentation from a licensed hemp grower when transporting hemp from a field or other production site.

According to Sen. Hornback, the measure would allow Kentuckians to get a jump on the market of legalized hemp production, including the jobs and revenue it would generate.

You might also be interested in reading these stories on KyForward:

Ag Commissioner James Comer ending first year in office as it began – full steam ahead

Hemp used to make hundreds of products yet restrictions make production prohibitive

Growing number of people, groups support efforts to raise industrial hemp in Kentucky

Kentucky industrial hemp commission votes to support SB 50, Comer fires on opposition

The RP: It’s high time we legalize hemp, discussion, rally tonight with Ag. Com. Comer

Kentucky Industrial Hemp Commission to meet for the first time in 10 years

Rand Paul PAC, David Bronner give $100,000 to Kentucky Industrial Hemp Commission.

Comer says Christian County sheriff’s support a boost to Kentucky hemp legalization effort

Mitch McConnell issues statement supporting Comer industrial hemp legalization effort



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