James Comer, Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner, led a meeting attended by the members of Kentucky Industrial Hemp Commission among them Maj. Anthony Terry, John Riley, Tom McKee, and D-Cynthiana . The main aim of the meeting was to advocate for the legalization of the industrial hemp, besides working on education and marketing efforts. This was the commission’s initial meeting in a decade. Comer said that his main priority was to pass the hemp legislation which would sanction industrial hemp. He seeks to achieve this by 2013. The board was established in 2001 and given the responsibility of managing the industrial hemp research in Kentucky, as well as making recommendations. The region was once a main producer of hemp.
Industrial hemp has a number of uses such as making biofuels, paper, lotions, clothing among other products. However, it has been prohibited for decades due to its linkage with marijuana. In order to show its usage, the members exhibited an automobile armrest produced from the plant.
Advocates of legalization of industrial hemp put forth that it could replace supply of the plant that is currently imported from countries such as Canada. It would also generate a novel plant for farmers. The government of the United States encouraged the planting of hemp during the World War II for use in war. This, they believed could replace industrial fibers as they were in short supply. Nevertheless, since the 1950s, hemp has not been grown in the country. This is because the federal government associated the crop to marijuana, thus was controlled. Even though marijuana and hemp are both of the species, cannabis sativa, they are genetically different as the latter contains a psychoactive compound.
With permission from the federal government and the Congress, Comer put forward that industrial hemp would be planted by farmers by early 2014. Advocates of legalization of the crop such as Rand Paul, United States republican Senator; and Dr. Bronner's, a manufacturer of natural soap donated to the commission to show their support. Major Anthony Terry however said that, regarding legalization of hemp, law enforcement has conditions as it does not support the same.
According to Comer, hemp has experienced false stereotypes and misapprehension for many years. He said that the department of agriculture was ready to work together with law enforcement. Although a number of states have supported planting of hemp, they have not put it into practice due to federal resistance.
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