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2. Hemp in Kentucky
The Marihuana Tax Act of 1937 banned not just smokable marijuana, but also hemp, which can be used for just about anything, except getting high. Nevertheless, prohibitionist didn't want it farmed on U.S. soil, so from 1937 until 1941, American manufacturers got their hemp from the Philippines. Then the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, and practically overnight the U.S. lost its chief supplier of raw materials for ropes and parachutes. The shortage forced the U.S. to create the War Hemp Industries Department, which encouraged American farmers to grow hemp for the war effort. Kentucky turned out to be the perfect place to grow the stuff, and grew a lot of it until Congress passed the Controlled Substances Act.
Kentucky's successful record with hemp, and the fact that the U.S. is the largest global consumer of the stuff—is it any surprise that we can import it, and sell it, but not grow it?—are two reasons why advocates in the Bluegrass State are hopeful that Kentucky legislators will restore hemp to its rightful place as a major Kentucky cash crop. Did we mention hemp lovers have Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner James Comer and Republican Sen. Rand Paul on their side?
While law enforcement groups oppose Senate Bill 50 and House Bill 33, defenders of hemp say the legislation wouldn't lead to an increase in marijuana use. The hemp law would require regular THC testing of crops, and for farmers to plant at least 10 acres—which would make an illegal grow more difficult to hide. And none of those regulations would go into effect until Washington, D.C. gave Kentucky the go-ahead.
That could happen pretty soon, according to NKY.com, which reports that Sen. Paul "told state officials that he will lobby for a federal waiver of the the federal ban on industrial hemp for Kentucky if the General Assembly passes legislation on hemp production."