Sen. Paul, left, and Rep. James Comer address crowd on hemp in Louisville in August 2012.
Senate Bill 218, which among other provisions, pulls hemp out of the definition of marijuana, passed the Kentucky Senate 35-0 on February 28, 2017. Sponsored by Sen. Damon Thayer, R-Georgetown, Senate Majority Floor Leader, SB 218 sets out rules on who can grow hemp (no one with a criminal record) and requiring GPS locators on all hemp fields.
Former Rep. Fred Nesler of Mayfield, who now works for the Kentucky Department of Agriculture told us on Monday that he thought the legislation would be successful this time. It has been introduced in the past. A similar bill, SB 50 became law without Governor Beshear's signature. This bill is a continuation of the effort to grow hemp.
UK, the Kentucky State Police and the Department of Agriculture worked together to craft legislation that would meet concerns that growing hemp would be a cover for growing marijuana.
Marijuana is still considered a controlled substance under federal law. Several states have legalized the drug, despite the federal prohibition. Legalization of hemp has supporters in Congress. Both Sen. McConnell and Senator Paul have expressed support. Rep. James Comer worked on hemp issues as Agriculture Commissioner and was an early advocate.
Comer recently told WKMS that he is known as the hemp guy around Congress. He also said that Louisville Congressman John Yarmuth was in favor of hemp legislation.
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