Hemp

Kentucky Legislature Passes Hemp Bill, Rand Paul Vows Support From D.C.

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Gage Skidmore Flickr

The Kentucky Senate joined the House in approving a hemp regulation bill last night. This morning, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) released a statement applauding the bill's passage and promising to continue to push for a federal waiver from the Controlled Substances Act for future Kentucky hemp growers:

"I commend the Kentucky General Assembly for final passage of Senate Bill 50. I want to thank Kentucky Commissioner of Agriculture James Comer, Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Paul Hornback and the members of the Kentucky Industrial Hemp Commission for their leadership and hard work in passing this legislation," Sen. Paul said.

"Senate Bill 50 is an important step forward in the reintroduction of industrial hemp in Kentucky. I have pledged, along with Rep. John Yarmuth, to seek a waiver when a regulatory framework is in place. I will follow through on that pledge and I hope that Kentucky will soon start growing hemp, creating jobs and leading the nation in this industry again."

Earlier this month, libertarian activist Matt Hurtt wrote for Reason about Kentucky's push for industrial hemp legalization, and the support role Paul and Sen. Mitch McConnell are playing at the federal level.

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  1. Just yesterday I was reading that Paul was against people getting high on the marijuana, and here I’m seeing that he’s all for growing cannabis in Kentucky? Scandal.

    1. It’s almost like he has principles or something.

  2. Something like a 88-4 vote in the House and 35-1 in the Senate.

    1. Yeah. It wasn’t even close.

      I’m not convinced that legalizing hemp would be some huge economic boon to KY, but then again that shouldn’t be the point of it. Some farmers could find a way to do well with hemp so long as farmers are allowed to grow hemp, and that is the point.

      1. It has other problems too, too much involvement with UK ag.

        Its not just a “here, go grow it if you want” bill, which would be better.

        1. Yes, it would be much better if the state stayed out of it. Kentucky did fine growing hemp centuries before the Ag Dept. came along.

          1. My grandfather (mother’s dad) grew it for the US Army during WW2. He was more useful to the war effort that way, I guess (My grandmother was about 7 months pregnant with my Mom when Pearl Harbor happened).

        2. Agreed.

          Unfortunately, the bill had no chance of passing unless certain legislators could have the promise of being able to dole our as much graft as possible to those at UK. It’s fucking nonsense. But it’s better than no bill at all.

  3. For you Civil War buffs… Much of John Hunt Morgan’s family fortune was made in hemp manufacture.

    1. I always thought Bushrod Rust Johnson was the coolest name somebody ever had.

    2. Ironic, then, that a person whose house in Lexington is on the national register of historic places would be a criminal today.

  4. Will hemp have any value when pot is made legal? That is, will anyone grow ditchweed when they can just use the cast offs of the more profitable crop?

    1. “Will hemp have any value when pot is made legal? That is, will anyone grow ditchweed when they can just use the cast offs of the more profitable crop?”

      It’s not a given that if both were legal marijuana would be more valuable than hemp.

      1. Hemp can be grown outdoors and way more efficiently than cannabis. Plenty of hemp would have to be grown to meet the demand that cannabis “cast offs” can not, if hemp ever realizes the industrial demand that potheads think it will have. It would be just like feed corn and human consumption corn.

    2. Wouldn’t it depend on the relative volumes of the demand for marijuana versus hemp fiber?

      I’m no MJ expert, but isn’t hemp much easier to grow than MJ, which requires sexing and careful maintenance of the plants to ensure that they are not pollinated or something like that?

      1. You are correct. In terms of technique they may as well be completely different plants.

      2. MJ castoffs would be no good for hemp fiber as you’re growing for as many seedless flowers as possible. For fiber you want as much stem as possible. It’s similar to flax production. If you want flax seeds you plant the flax about two feet apart so the plant gets bushy and produces more flowers. If you want fiber, you plant them an inch apart so they grow very tall and straight.

    3. Will hemp have any value when pot is made legal? That is, will anyone grow ditchweed when they can just use the cast offs of the more profitable crop?

      If you make weed legal everywhere in the U.S., the price will plummet to the cost of production, and at some point some land will be more valuable for growing hemp than weed.

      It’s like grapes versus raisins versus wine — some land can be more profitably used growing grapes for eating than making bad wine, such as some of the Central Valley in CA. Whereas no one in their right mind uses prime Sonoma grapevines for grapes for eating.

      1. Shorter — if you stop growing weed indoors under grow lights, and instead have hundreds of thousands of square miles of farmland that can grow weed outdoors, the resulting glut of production will drop prices before taxes to near nothing, similar to tobacco.

    4. When anyone with a back yard, porch, patio, or bay window, can get a couple five gallon buckets and grow their own stash of whatever particular strain they fancy the price of smokeweed will drop substantially. This isn’t like growing your own tobacco, or brewing your own beer, it’s easier than growing decent tomatoes. Frankly I doubt you’ll see anything larger than farmer’s market scale commercial development.

      Hemp, on the other hand, would be production on the industrial scale – with standards and grading to match.

  5. Looks like KY is also going to eliminate the ban on alcohol sales while polls are open on election day.

  6. If they legalize hemp, all of the pollen floating around will turn the local marijuana growers’ crops to shit weed. This will hurt the local Kentucky free/underground economy. Need to consider all the angles.

    1. I’m guessing indoor growers would just install air filters that can remove the pollen.

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