Ag. Commissioner: Kentucky will legalize industrial hemp - WFXG FOX 54 - News Now

Ag. Commissioner: Kentucky will legalize industrial hemp

Agriculture Commissioner James Comer Agriculture Commissioner James Comer
Craig Lee Craig Lee
State Rep. Tom McKee State Rep. Tom McKee
An industrial hemp plant. An industrial hemp plant.

FRANKFORT, KY (WAVE) - Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner James Comer said he expects a vote next week that will legalize growing industrialized hemp in the Commonwealth.

Thursday, the Industrial Hemp Commission held their final meeting before the General Assembly session ends. Senate Bill 50 would allow Kentucky farmers to grow the hemp for use in everything from food to cloth to oil. It passed the Senate with bipartisan support. The House has to vote by Tuesday for it to become law.

"If Senate Bill 50 were left alone, it would probably pass 80 votes to 20 or 85 to 15," Comer told the commission. "The votes are there in its current form. There's no question."

The sticking point now are amendments to the bill the House added. They would increase random testing on the plants by police and tax credits for the farmers.

"I'm not for the amendments at all," said Chairperson Craig Lee.

Lee believes the additions would take money away from the Commission's efforts to grow the industry.

Lawmakers in Kentucky have been discussing similar bills for more than ten years. Despite some concerns right now, many say it's just time to get the law passed.

"I think it certainly has good opportunity to and we'll have to wait until next week and see what really develops," said State Rep. Tom McKee (D-78), chair of the House Agriculture Committee.

Comer said companies from across the country have already contacted him about buying the product.

"The owner of one of the fastest growing food company in Ohio, Plant Kingdom Bakery and Snackery, called. He imports his hemp from Canada. He said if we can get Senate Bill 50 passed and a waiver from the Drug Enforcement Administration, he would gladly sign contracts to purchase hemp grown in Kentucky," said Comer.

Locally, Lee said there are opportunities as well. Kentucky State University has already done research on hemp seed protein.

"They formulated a feed diet for hybrid striped bass. It leaves out fish meal which is big, especially if you're watching what you eat or if you're worried about mercury and arsenic and stuff like that being in your fish."

Getting the law passed will make it easier for Kentucky farmers to provide the hemp crop to businesses, but Lee says no matter what happens with the House vote, "this is going to move on whether we have politics or not."

House Speaker Greg Stumbo (D-95) referred comment about the status of the bill in the House to Majority leader Rocky Adkins (D-99) who said, "I look forward to continuing the discussion on Senate Bill 50 and am hopeful that a consensus can be reached."

Copyright 2013 WAVE News. All rights reserved.

  • NEWSMore>>

  • The Latest: NFL renews Thursday night deal with Amazon

    The Latest: NFL renews Thursday night deal with Amazon

    Thursday, April 26 2018 6:31 PM EDT2018-04-26 22:31:36 GMT
    Thursday, April 26 2018 9:09 PM EDT2018-04-27 01:09:41 GMT
    (AP Photo/Tom R. Smedes, File). FILE - In this Oct. 22, 2016, file photo, Wyoming quarterback Josh Allen reacts after scoring a touchdown in the second half of an NCAA college football game against Nevada in Reno, Nev. Allen is expected to be a first r...(AP Photo/Tom R. Smedes, File). FILE - In this Oct. 22, 2016, file photo, Wyoming quarterback Josh Allen reacts after scoring a touchdown in the second half of an NCAA college football game against Nevada in Reno, Nev. Allen is expected to be a first r...
    The NFL has renewed an exclusive partnership with Amazon Prime Video for digital streaming of Thursday night games during 2018 and 2019 seasons.More >>
    The NFL has renewed an exclusive partnership with Amazon Prime Video for digital streaming of Thursday night games during 2018 and 2019 seasons.More >>
  • Investigators: DNA from genealogy site caught serial killer

    Investigators: DNA from genealogy site caught serial killer

    Thursday, April 26 2018 2:39 AM EDT2018-04-26 06:39:08 GMT
    Thursday, April 26 2018 9:06 PM EDT2018-04-27 01:06:16 GMT
    (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli). Sacramento County Sheriff Scott Jones, left, talks to reporters about the arrest Joesph James DeAngelo, seen in photo, on suspicion of committing a string of violent crimes in the 1970's and 1980's after a news conference. ...(AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli). Sacramento County Sheriff Scott Jones, left, talks to reporters about the arrest Joesph James DeAngelo, seen in photo, on suspicion of committing a string of violent crimes in the 1970's and 1980's after a news conference. ...

    The suspected Golden State Killer became less prolific but deadlier after losing his job as a police officer.

    More >>

    The suspected Golden State Killer became less prolific but deadlier after losing his job as a police officer.

    More >>
  • At hearings, EPA chief seeks to divert blame for ethics woes

    At hearings, EPA chief seeks to divert blame for ethics woes

    Thursday, April 26 2018 12:53 AM EDT2018-04-26 04:53:54 GMT
    Thursday, April 26 2018 8:59 PM EDT2018-04-27 00:59:52 GMT
    (AP Photo/Alex Brandon). Protesters listen to speakers talk about EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt and the state of the EPA during a protest by the American Federation of Government Employees union, Wednesday, April 25, 2018, in Washington.(AP Photo/Alex Brandon). Protesters listen to speakers talk about EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt and the state of the EPA during a protest by the American Federation of Government Employees union, Wednesday, April 25, 2018, in Washington.

    Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt faces potentially make-or-break hearings on Capitol Hill, where he is expected to face questions about spending and ethics scandals that have triggered bipartisan...

    More >>

    Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt faces potentially make-or-break hearings on Capitol Hill, where he is expected to face questions about spending and ethics scandals that have triggered bipartisan calls for his ouster.

    More >>
Powered by Frankly