Updated: Jan 19, 2019
On April 7, 2013, Kentucky SB 50 became law, despite Governor Steve Besher's refusal to sign the bill. The governor had voiced his concerns about the hemp bill throughout the session, claiming "law enforcement concerns about industrial hemp production should be addressed."
Several police groups spoke out against SB 50, saying "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." They also claimed the production of hemp also could "impede law enforcement’s marijuana eradication efforts," the law enforcement agencies said.
Beshear claimed that he supports efforts to create an additional legal cash crops for farm communities, but added “we have a tremendous drug problem in Kentucky, and I want to make sure that we don’t do anything that will increase that drug problem. I still share the same concerns our law enforcement officers have about the impact hemp cultivation may have on our drug eradication efforts.”
In his final statement he states, “The bottom line is that Senate Bill 50 won’t allow industrial hemp to be grown or sold unless and until the federal government takes the very big step of legalizing the crop in some way. If that happens, we will have time to work with the legislature and law enforcement to make any further changes necessary to ensure the public’s safety and alleviate those concerns,” he said in an official statement. “Therefore, I am allowing SB50 to become law without my signature.”