Updated: Jan 19, 2019
On February 6, 2013, Congressman Thomas Massie (R-KY) introduced federal legislation that would require the federal government to respect state laws allowing the growing of industrial hemp.
HR 525, the Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2013, amends the Controlled Substances Act to exclude industrial hemp from the definition of marijuana. Rep. John Yarmuth (D-KY) is a co-sponsor of the bill in the U.S. House.
He stated in a press release, "Industrial hemp is a sustainable crop and could be a great economic opportunity for Kentucky farmers. My wife and I are raising our children on the tobacco and cattle farm where my wife grew up. Tobacco is no longer a viable crop for many of us in Kentucky and we understand how hard it is for a family farm to turn a profit. Industrial hemp will give small farmers another opportunity to succeed.”
On the federal level, Rep. Massie took the lead in Congress as the original sponsor of industrial hemp legislation. Within the same week, Massie testified before the Kentucky legislature along with other members of Kentucky’s federal delegation, along with Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner, James Comer, in support of a related state bill (Click here to learn about "Bi-Partisan Congressional Leaders and Former CIA Director Testify in Favor of SB 50.")
H.R. 525 had 28 original co-sponsors in the House, including House Agriculture Committee ranking member Collin Peterson (D-MN). Massie had co-sponsored a similar bill in the 112th Congress (HR 1831.) Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) and Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (KY) were working on a similar bill in the U.S. Senate (S 359.)
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