Kentucky: House and Senate Lawmakers Pass Industrial Hemp Legislation

  • by Erik Altieri, NORML Communications Director March 27, 2013

    hempfieldHouse and Senate lawmakers yesterday passed an amended version of Senate Bill 50, “An Act relating to industrial hemp.” The floor votes took place with only hours to go before the close of the 2013 legislative session. Proponents of the measure acknowledged that “public pressure to pass the bill helped achieve the last-minute deal.”

    The United States is the only developed nation that fails to cultivate industrial hemp as an economic crop, according to the Congressional Resource Service. Hemp is a distinct variety of the plant species cannabis sativa that contains only minute (less than 1%) amounts of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the primary psychoactive ingredient in marijuana. Farmers worldwide grow hemp commercially for fiber, seed, and oil for use in a variety of industrial and consumer products, including food and clothing.

    Senate Bill 50 “establishes conditions and procedures for the licensing of industrial hemp growers by the Department of Agriculture.” It designates the Kentucky Industrial Hemp Commission to work in concert with the state Department of Agriculture, and also tasks the University of Kentucky Agricultural Experimental Station to engage in research related to hemp production.

    The bill passed the House by a vote of 88 to 4. The Senate re-approved the measure by a vote of 35 to 1.

    Said Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner James Comer in a prepared statement: “By passing this bill, the General Assembly has signaled that Kentucky is serious about restoring industrial hemp production to the commonwealth and doing it in the right way. That will give Kentucky’s congressional delegation more leverage when they seek a federal waiver allowing Kentucky farmers to grow hemp.”

    Federal legislation, the Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2013, to amend the Controlled Substances Act to exclude industrial hemp from the definition of marijuana is pending in the US Senate and House of Representatives.

    Senate Bill 50 now goes to the desk of Democrat Gov. Steve Beshear, who has said he shares the concerns of the Kentucky State Police who opposed the bill,” but has not stated publicly whether he intends to veto the measure.

    If you live in Kentucky, click here to write the Governor and urge that he does not stand in the way of this legislation.

    30 Responses to “Kentucky: House and Senate Lawmakers Pass Industrial Hemp Legislation”

    1. Michael Miller says:

      I have a question… why don’t we as a nation produce hemp if everyone else is? What am I missing? If it has less than 1% THC, and every other developed nation is growing it, why aren’t we? Are we really that stupid and backwards? I’m very familar with the history of Cannabis and hemp and the reefer madness thing but I have a hard time believing we still, as a nation, harbor those false insecurities. I guess we do though. It’s hard to believe we’re missing out on that billion dollar industry because Anslinger once told the nation that “marijuana makes cows jump over fences”. And people wonder why I’m so negative sometimes…

    2. Michael Miller says:

      @Navy Vet… but if Cannabis is legalized, the pharmaceutical companies would stand to lose tens of billions, and we can’t have that. Chemo is such a wonderful drug and we can’t have people consuming a natural plant that actually produces results and has no side effects. We must keep the illegal status of Cannabis because it has killed millions nation wide. Well… it hasn’t ever killed anyone but… it’s still bad and evil lol.

      Seriously, the prohibition of Cannabis is a crime. Anybody that tells you otherwise is simply ignorant and brainwashed.

    3. Anonymous says:

      Right .but, ancient hemp fields north of 45 degrees latitute, still (contain) impressive amounts of “Cannabidiol” otherwise known as CBD.,As George Washington would have smoked?!!!

      Back in the day!

    4. Navy Vet. says:

      This is off topic but, I feel the need to put this out there. I served 4 years in the US Navy and anyone will agree with me that serving in the military gives you what I like to call, a million dollar education. We learn things that people who run off to college or decide to go straight into the work fource will not learn for 5, 10, maybe even 20 years. I just want to touch base that some people who choose to become a civilian agin have stress that follows them when they decide to. I will use my case as an example. I have a hard time sleeping at night. some nights I will do good to get a solid 4 hours of sleep in. I absolutly refuse to take any kind of pill or liquid sleep aid but I will say this since I have been out and attending technical school to become a CNC machinist on my post 9/11 bill I have been getting a solid 8 plus hours of sleep since I dont have to worry about being drug tested. I keep an open mind on everything in life and would like to ask all the anti cannibus people out there “whats all the bad things that come from cannibus/hemp use.” I know the good things that come from it cause I sleep good every night, But if some one could tell me anything out there that makes cannibus so bad it has to be labeled as a class 1 controlled substance I would love to hear it! Its 50 times safer then alcohol use, it doesn’t make you lazy, It doesn’t make you stupid, and it sure as hell isn’t a gateway drug! If anyone out there wants to disagree with me, I will happily take them bake to school and teach them cannibus 101… lol. If it pleases the people now I’m going to go get my 8 hours of sleep, and get up super early in the morning to go Fly fishing before school.

    5. John k. says:

      Congratulations, Kentucky!

    6. kentucky native says:

      yes thank you for doing this. kentucky and north carolina needs to stop letting the tobacco companies keep it down. p.s. colorado and washington where all counting on you please dont let us down.

    7. poodank says:

      Heres whats really going on,the state police knows that the hemp industry will severely degrade the potency of the thc due to cross pollination,so then you have a lack of high thc pot grown outdoors.Job security,then again they might have a few patches out there they dont want pollinated.

    8. Nathaniel says:

      It is a step in the right direction. Is it everything you would hope for? Not by a long shot, but it is a huge leap for Kentucky. Good on them.

    9. Galileo Galilei says:


      ‘ … When I said that Cannabis should be legal so these guys didn’t have to ruin residential properties and could just set up shop in a warehouse the reporter stopped the interview and told me that I really didn’t meet his agenda, but thanks. WTF?’

      Odd… Must have something to do with that ‘fair and balanced’ stuff you hear so much about.

    10. wbs 101 says:

      The governor shares the concerns of the state police. They are “concerned” that hemp is not economically viable and that it will hurt marijuana enforcement. F*** these fascist goons 2 states have legalized and these guys are still worried about hemp? Want I want to know is who funded his campaign? If you live in Kentucky you should definitely vote for someone else.

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