Reina P. Cunningham
An effort to legalize hemp production in Kentucky is making national headlines.
If the bill is passed, Kentucky would be the first state to legalize the production of hemp. Lobbyists are pushing to have the bill passed now before other states have the opportunity to do so.
In a historic meeting on Monday, the Kentucky Industrial Hemp Commission (KIHC) voted to support Senate Bill (SB) 50, Sen. Paul Hornback’s legislation that establishes a framework if and when the federal government acts to reintroduce industrial hemp into Kentucky’s agri-economy.
The bill establishes conditions and procedures for the licensing of industrial hemp growers by the Department of Agriculture.
It also requires the department to perform a criminal background check, establish a license duration period and to set the cost of the license by administrative regulation.
Additionally, the bill requires the department to forward a copy of an industrial hemp grower license to law enforcement agencies, specify stipulations for growers having an industrial hemp grower license and requires periodic reports to the Kentucky Hemp Commission.
If passed, SB 50 will clarify that the act does not authorize a person to violate federal law, establish circumstances under which a license may be withdrawn and amend four statutes to conform and clarify exiting law.
Operation Unite (Unlawful Narcotics Investigations Treatment and Education), an anti-drug organization covering 32 counties in southern and eastern Kentucky, believes industrial hemp production in Kentucky is not economically sound, would impose an unnecessary financial burden on the state and could facilitate future efforts to legalize its cousin — marijuana.
Reina Parker Cunningham can be reached at email@example.com or 606-248-1010, ext. 205.