1:10pm

Fri April 5, 2013
All Politics are Local

Hemp and Medi-Share Bills to Become Law

Governor Steve Beshear is allowing a bill regulating hemp in Kentucky to become law without his signature. Supporters of Senate Bill 50 were concerned that the governor might veto the bill after continuing expressing concerns law enforcement had with the bill that it would allow increased marijuana growing.

Steve Beshear
Credit Rae Hodge/Kentucky Public Radio

But those concerns apparently weren't enough to veto the bill, as the governor says he will let it become law.

“I strongly support efforts to create additional legal cash crops for our farm communities," Beshear said in a statement. " At the same time, we have a tremendous drug problem in Kentucky, and I want to make sure that we don’t do anything that will increase that drug problem.  I still share the same concerns our law enforcement officers have about the impact hemp cultivation may have on our drug eradication efforts. ....Therefore, I am allowing SB50 to become law without my signature."

The bill allows the Department of Agriculture and Industrial Hemp Commission issues licenses to grow hemp once a federal ban is lifted. It also allows the Kentucky State Police to do background checks on license applications.

The measure will the chief legislative priority of Agriculture Comer James Comer, who says he will now push for a waiver to grow hemp from the federal government.

“This shows what can happen when the people get behind positive legislation that has the potential to create jobs and opportunity for Kentucky,” Comer said. “Six months ago, industrial hemp was on nobody’s radar. Now, SB 50 will become the law of the Commonwealth. I’m grateful to all the people — legislators, farmers, business people, Republicans, Democrats — who made their voices heard on this issue, and to Sen. Paul Hornback for taking a chance and sponsoring the bill.”

Beshear also signed Senate Bill 3, the Medi-Share bill, into law today. The bill allows Christian Care Medi-share to re-start its health sharing organization in Kentucky, after a legal battle removed them.