Kentucky's industrial hemp supporters lashed out Thursday against a last-minute amendment to the hemp bill that's been under consideration this year in the General Assembly.
State Rep. Rocky Adkins, a Sandy Hook Democrat and the majority floor leader, has proposed an amendment turning the Senate-approve hemp bill into a five year study. It also gives the licensing responsibilities to Kentucky State Police, which argues that legalized hemp would harm law enforcement efforts to target hemp's cousin, marijuana.
Industrial hemp supporters are ratcheting up the pressure to force a vote on a stalled bill that would allow farmers in Kentucky to grow the crop if federal ban is lifted. A group led by state Agriculture Commissioner James Comer urged House Agriculture Committee Chairman Tom McKee Thursday to allow a vote on the bill. The group included a prominent northern Kentucky tobacco farmer who lives in McKee's district.
A Kentucky House committee chairman says he’ll scale back an industrial hemp bill to allow the University of Kentucky to seek permission to study the crop that is currently banned by the federal government. House Agriculture Committee Chairman Tom McKee says his amendment would have UK test hemp if it received a federal permit.
McKee said he plans to offer the amendment when the Agriculture Committee takes up the hemp bill today in Frankfort.
Gov. Steve Beshear says he wants law enforcement's concerns about industrial hemp resolved before Kentucky moves ahead with a push to grow the plant.
State police oppose state Republican leaders’ effort to license and regulate hemp if the federal government ever lifts a ban on it. Beshear says the Legislature needs to weigh law enforcement's concerns carefully, given Kentucky’s horrible drug problem.