This week marked a huge victory is the movement for legalizing industrial hemp in Kentucky. We have overcome the initial two hurdles, and are quickly moving forward, but there is still much to do.
On Monday, the Senate Agriculture Committee held a hearing to decide whether or not Senate Bill 50, legislation to regulate hemp farming, would move forward to the Senate body. The room was packed to the brim, with many supporters standing around the edges, and even more seated in the overflow room next door. The Chairman of the Committee, Senator Paul Hornback, who is also the sponsor of the legislation, held a fair and honest hearing. Having been a lifelong farmer, he was easily able to push partisan politics to the side and get to the real issue at hand, creating jobs and promoting industry in Kentucky.
|Photo Credit: The Frankfort State Journal|
Much to the dismay of State Police Commissioner Rodney Brewer, the Agriculture Committee voted unanimously in favor of small business, the environment, energy, and the economy. The industrial hemp bill, after finally getting a hearing, passed through the Senate Ag Committee with not a single "NO" vote!
|Sen Paul Hornback testifies in the Senate|
Later in the week, the Senate body had the opportunity to vote on Senate Bill 50, and passed the bill with flying colors. Senator Paul Hornback, the bill's sponsor, gave a passionate and honest testimony in favor of the crop, and was joined in his remarks by Senators Kathy Stein, Robin Webb, and Julian Carroll. The vote count was 31-6, with one Senator abstaining. The video of the Senate orders of the day can be watched at this link and the segment relating to SB50 begins at 31:41.
As chair of the Kentucky Hemp Coalition, I want to congratulate all of the members of the KY Senate chambers who voted in favor of Senate Bill 50. I want to especially thank Senator Paul Hornback for championing this legislation in 2013, and I want to draw attention to the numerous legislators on both sides who have supported this legislation for years, or even decades. Senators Carroll, Webb, Stein, and especially former State Senator Joey Pendleton...this war is far from over, but with your continued perseverance, we will surely make Kentucky the leader of the nation in industrial hemp production. For over 150 years, Kentucky had been the producer of the finest hemp in the world, and with the continued leadership of these fine legislators, we will overcome the lies, misinformation, and half truths that stole the lifeblood from the farmers of this state.
In the words of Senator Kathy Stein, "hemp may not make us high, but it will certainly make us happy."