Feb. 19, 2013 —
House Speaker Greg Stumbo, D-Prestonsburg, has questioned the economic benefit of growing hemp and says any economic benefits must be sufficient to out-weigh law enforcement concerns.
He said the Senate bill will be assigned to the House Agriculture Committee chaired by Rep. Tom McKee, D-Cynthiana.
McKee said his committee hasn’t received the bill though he expected it to be assigned to the committee Tuesday. He has scheduled a hearing on the bill for Feb. 27.
McKee said he hasn’t formed a settled opinion on the issue but seemed to have his own reservations.
“I’m going to listen to what we hear on Wednesday (Feb. 27),” McKee said.
He said some committee members have discussed a committee substitute to the Senate bill sponsored by Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Paul Hornback, R-Shelbyville.
“I think maybe there’s an education component that might be added to the bill,” McKee said in response to a reporter’s question about whether more study on the issue is needed.
“The thing I think we’ve got to remember is that it’s against federal law and what indications do we have that it will be changed this year?” asked McKee.
Comer said he planned to discuss the issue with McKee before the Feb. 27 committee meeting.
McKee said his committee is not planning to hear from members of the Kentucky congressional delegation at its hearing on the hemp bill.
Paul and Congressman John Yarmuth, D-Louisville, and Thomas Massie, R-Vanceburg, testified before Hornback’s committee. The measure also has the endorsement of McConnell.
Ronnie Ellis writes for CNHI News Service and is based in Frankfort. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow CNHI News Service stories on Twitter at www.twitter.com/cnhifrankfort.