The Senate Committee on Agriculture met in Frankfort Monday and unanimously voted to approve Senate Bill 50.
The Bill would license Kentucky farmers to grow hemp if federal restrictions are lifted.
Kentucky State Police Commissioner, Rodney Brewer expressed his concerns with legalizing hemp.
“We’ve heard that you can’t get high off of hemp. You can get high off of hemp,” says Brewer.
Brewer says hemp is very similar to marijuana. He believes legalizing it would lead to more crime throughout the commonwealth.
“In Kentucky last year we eradicated $441,000 illegal marijuana plants and arrested 524 people for cultivating marijuana,” says Brewer.
Supporters of hemp feel confident the crops will be closely regulated. Many believe allowing it will help put Kentuckians back to work.
“I don’t think it’s going to replace corn. And I’m not up here saying that next year everybody is going to work for a hemp farm. But why not legalize something that could produce jobs? And probably will,” says U.S. Senator Rand Paul.
With support from Sen. Rand Paul, hemp bill clears Kentucky Senate committee unanimously
A bill that would legalize growing hemp for industrial use cleared a state legislative committee Monday with a unanimous vote after three members of Kentucky’s federal delegation — including U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky. — testified for it.
The testimony by Paul and U.S. Reps. John Yarmuth, D-3rd District, and Thomas Massie, R-4th District, marked a rare, if not unprecedented, occurrence for the Kentucky General Assembly.
All three said they would work at the federal level either to pass legislation legalizing industrial hemp or seeking a waiver of federal drug laws that currently classify the plant as a prohibited substance along with marijuana, a fellow member of the cannabis family.
Agriculture Commissioner James Comer, who campaigned on the issue two years ago, and other supporters argue that hemp could provide Kentucky with a huge influx of jobs if the state is among the first to legalize it. An economic impact study is under way at the University of Kentucky to gauge the claim.
“There’s a desperate need to create jobs in Kentucky and this is one way to do it,” Comer said after the vote, thanking supporters.