Industrial hemp bill passes Senate after new survey shows overwhelming support
For Immediate Release
Thursday, February 14, 2013
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FRANKFORT, Ky. - In a landslide vote, the Kentucky State Senate passed Senate Bill 50, Sen. Paul Hornbacks legislation supported by Agriculture Commissioner James Comer that sets up an administrative framework for the re-introduction of industrial hemp into Kentuckys economy. SB 50 passed by a convincing 31-6 margin.
I am extremely proud of the Kentucky State Senate for its commitment to job creation in Kentucky, Comer said. Todays bipartisan vote is the first step toward more opportunities for our farmers and jobs for Kentuckians.
The passage of SB 50 occurred just hours after the release of a Harper Polling survey that showed that 65 percent of likely voters believe industrial hemp is not a drug and that legalizing the crop would create jobs. Only 19 percent believe legalizing hemp would hurt marijuana eradication efforts, and a mere 16 percent believe the issue needs further study.
I traveled to all of Kentuckys 120 counties last year, and the one thing everyone agreed on is that we have to do something in this state to create jobs, Comer said. I am grateful to Sen. Paul Hornback for taking the lead on this issue, and I am hopeful that the House will be inspired to act favorably upon his bill.
SB 50 passed the Senate Agriculture Committee on Monday by a unanimous vote as U.S. Senator Rand Paul, U.S. Representatives John Yarmuth and Thomas Massie, and former Director of Central Intelligence R. James Woolsey (Clinton Administration) testified with Comer in support of the legislation. Paul, Yarmuth, Massie, and Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell have signed onto federal legislation that would exempt industrial hemp from the definition of a drug. They have vowed to pursue a waiver from the DEA that would allow Kentucky to be the first state to grow industrial hemp.