Industrial Hemp Debate Continues

Feb 11, 2013

Credit Barbetorte, Wikimedia Commons

The industrial hemp debate will resume in Frankfort later this morning.  A bill seeking a pilot project for hemp in Kentucky will be discussed in a Senate committee.  Carrying the ball for putting hemp in farmer’s fields is Agriculture Commissioner James Comer.

 “We find new uses every day for industrial hemp," he says. "It’s a green crop.  It’s something that is replacing plastic in the automotive industry.  You can make paper with industrial hemp, textiles, cosmetics and lotions, bio fuels.”

If approved by the general assembly, the federal government would still have to grant a regulation waiver before any hemp plants could go in the ground.

Joining Comer in a recent KET Kentucky Tonight broadcast was Kentucky State Police Commissioner Rodney Brewer.  He worries marijuana plants would be worked into a legitimate hemp field.

“What is to prevent an unscrupulous farmer, maybe with or without his knowledge, from someone going in and planting 15, 20 marijuana plants in the center of this one acre-ten acre track," he says.

Dan Smoot with the anti drug organization ‘Operation Unite’ says some marijuana growers could target hemp fields to bolster the content of their illegal crop.  Former State Treasurer Jonathon Miller favors the bill.  He believes a hemp processing plant would mean hundreds of new jobs in Kentucky.