09.02.2012 | no replies
EDITORIAL: Paul, Comer Bolster Hemp Discussion
SOURCE: Messenger-Inquirer (Owensboro, KY) via Los Angeles Times
The return of industrial hemp production in Kentucky has a stronger chance than ever with the recent endorsement from U.S. Sen. Rand Paul.
Paul has joined Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner James Comer, another strong supporter of hemp, in promoting the reintroduction of the crop to the state, which led the nation in its production prior to being banned in the 1950s.
But of the two Kentucky political leaders, it will take Paul's influence with Congress to remove the crop from under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) before hemp can become an option again for farmers.
Although it's described as "the cousin" to marijuana, industrial hemp doesn't contain near the THC levels that cause the psychoactive effects or what's commonly known as being "high."
Paul, a Bowling Green Republican, has co-sponsored a bill to remove federal restrictions on industrial hemp, which would be strictly grown for its oil and fibers used to make clothing, rope and lotions.
At this year's news conference before the Kentucky Farm Bureau's annual country ham breakfast, Paul spoke with a large banner beneath him that read "hemp = jobs."
"The rest of the world can grow hemp and we're not, so we're losing out on that product," Paul said.
And that includes our neighbor to the north, Canada, which sells much of its hemp-made products to U.S. customers via the Internet.
The crop would be ideal for Daviess County's soil. According to the USDA, Daviess County is among the state's leading producers in corn, soybeans and burley tobacco. There's no reason to believe industrial hemp wouldn't make a perfect fit here as well, allowing farmers to diversify their crop base even further.
However, Comer said it best when he assessed the reluctance as "politics and misinformation" from lawmakers refusing to recognize industrial hemp as a legitimate income source.
And it doesn't help when police continue to oppose legalization of hemp, citing the difficulty to visually distinguish it from marijuana.
Bringing hemp back into the mainstream won't be an easy task, especially with a Congress that can't agree on much of anything these days.
But at least Paul and Comer have opened the issue to some serious discussion at both the state and national levels.
And we believe the legalization of industrial hemp is a conversation worth having. ___
(c)2012 the Messenger-Inquirer (Owensboro, Ky.)
Visit the Messenger-Inquirer (Owensboro, Ky.) at http://www.messenger-inquirer.com
Distributed by MCT Information Services
REPLIESYou must login to leave a comment.
No one has commented on this subject yet; why not be the first to comment?