12:31pm

Mon February 4, 2013
All Politics are Local

Hemp Gaining Momentum in General Assembly

Support is clearly growing behind Agriculture Commissioner James Comer's efforts for industrial hemp in Kentucky are growing. Call it hempmentum. With last week's endorsement from U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell, Comer now has the majority of Kentucky's federal delegation behind him.

Credit Adrian Cable/Creative Commons

Both U.S. senators and half of the state's House members have publicly endorsed legalizing industrial hemp. They say Kentucky is well-suited to be a leader in growing hemp for fiber and oil.

But the push does have its opponents.

Law enforcement agencies reject hemp for a number of reasons; most importantly because it's a cousin to marijuana. And as support increases, law enforcement has remained firm on this point.

Before Kentucky can grow hemp, it has to be legalized on the state and federal levels. The issue will be taken up at a state Senate committee meeting in a week. It's expected to pass.