Feb. 11, 2013 —
The proposal is pushed by Republican Agriculture James Comer who says it offers an opportunity for a cash crop alternative to tobacco in Kentucky and can be used for paper products, fiber and other uses, including making composite materials from oil extracted from seeds, materials that can be used to manufacture car components like dashboards.
The bill would not legalize the growing of hemp, once a major agricultural product in Kentucky. It would, however, establish the “framework of regulations,” according to Comer, should the federal government legalize industrial hemp.
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 have to be at least ten acres in size. Paul, wearing a shirt made from hemp, said he has offered legislation to legalize hemp production in the United States — as has Massey in the U.S. House — but will seek a federal waiver for Kentucky from President Barack Obama should the legislation fail.
Those calling for legalization said nine other states have already passed such legislation and it is important for Kentucky to do the same in order to be in position to take advantage of a market if the federal government makes it legal to grow.
Yarmuth said that “is only a matter of time.”
Brewer told the committee that is impossible to distinguish between the two plants “with the naked eye,” that only expensive laboratory tests can determine which is which conclusively. He said that will be a costly addition to the KSP lab which already faces backlogs.
Woolsey told the committee that there hasn’t been a single documented case of marijuana growing hidden among hemp in Canada where the product is legal, to which Brewer said, “That doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen.”