2013 | Bi-partisan congressional leaders, former CIA Director testify in favor of Kentucky hemp bill
Updated: Jan 19, 2019
On February 11, 2013 Congressional representatives Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), Rep. John Yarmuth (D-KY), Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY), former CIA Director James Woolsey and Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner James Comer testified before the Kentucky Senate Agriculture Committee in support of Kentucky Senate Bill 50. Sponsored by Sen. Paul Hornback, R-Shelbyville, SB 50 establishes a framework to re-introduce industrial hemp into Kentucky’s agri-economy, if and when the federal government acts to legalize it.
Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner James Comer stated in a press release, "Kentucky has the perfect soil and climate to be the nation's top producer of industrial hemp. Studies have shown that hemp could be at least the third most profitable crop in Kentucky and our farmers could capture the lion's share of the industry."
The bill would direct the Kentucky Department of Agriculture to create a program for licensing farmers to grow industrial hemp, establish conditions and stipulations for license holders, and define procedures for communication between the Kentucky Department of Agriculture and law enforcement.
"I am convinced that allowing its production will be a positive development for Kentucky's farm families and economy," added Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, "The utilization of hemp to produce everything from clothing to paper is real, and if there is a capacity to center a new domestic industry in Kentucky that will create jobs in these difficult economic times, that sounds like a good thing to me."
President of Dr. Bronner's Magic Soaps, the top-selling brand of natural soaps in North America, David Bronner included a statement, "We want to be the first U.S. brand to start using hemp from American rather than Canadian farmers, once they can grow hemp again in Kentucky. We are planning a new line of food products made with American-farmed hemp seed and oil, to capitalize on the booming U.S. market for nutritious foods made with hemp seeds." His company was importing over 20 tons of organic hemp oil from Canada annually.
The Kentucky Industrialized Hemp Commission says "Kentucky has the perfect climate and soil to produce industrial hemp, and the farmers to grow it. Comer believes the crop could be a great economic boon to Kentucky."
The group had recently commissioned an economic impact study to be performed by the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture. It hoped the study could have an impact on the discussion at the federal level to legalize industrial hemp. (Click here to read more about UK's study "Industrial Hemp Production.")