HEMP FOR KENTUCKY!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Hemp supporters say support growing in Kentucky

In this summer, 1952, photo hemp plants growing wild on a lot in downtown Louisville, Ky., are killed with chemical spray. Efforts to restore the crop that decades ago was a major industry in Kentucky appear to be growing despite the defeat of another legalization effort in the state’s 2012 General Assembly. The tall, leafy plant was outlawed because of its similarity to marijuana, but supporters argue it’s nearly impossible to get high by smoking hemp. (AP Photo/Louisville Courier-Journal)

By Bruce Schreiner

LEXINGTON, Ky.—Hemp isn’t legal in Kentucky yet, but the eclectic mix of people at the Kentucky Hemp Coalition Seminar in Lexington was evidence that support for the versatile plant may be taking root.

One by one, elected officials stepped forward to promote the virtues of hemp production, staking out a position that once might have sown political trouble back home. They were cheered by liberals and libertarian-leaning conservatives alike.

KHC

"We’ve come a long way," said state Sen. Joey Pendleton, who has sponsored a string of unsuccessful bills seeking to reintroduce hemp in the Bluegrass state. "The first year I had this, it was lonely."

Kentucky once was a leading producer of industrial hemp, a tall, leafy plant with a multitude of uses that has been outlawed for decades because of its association with marijuana. Those seeking to legalize the plant argue that the change would create a new crop for farmers, replacing a hemp supply now imported from Canada and other countries.

The plant can be used to make paper, biofuels, clothing, lotions and other products.

Despite bipartisan support, the latest hemp measures failed again this year in the Kentucky General Assembly. But this time, hemp advocates think they have momentum on their side and vow to press on with their campaign to legalize the crop.

Pendleton, D-Hopkinsville, urged his fellow hemp supporters to lobby hard in preparation for another push in 2013.

"I think next year is the year," said Pendleton, whose grandfather raised hemp in western Kentucky.

Hemp bills have been introduced in 11 state legislatures this year, but so far none have passed, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The bills include allowing privately funded industrial hemp research, allowing hemp production under strict licensing programs and urging the federal government to allow hemp  production for industrial uses.

Hemp’s reputation has undergone drastic pendulum swings in the U.S.

During World War II, the U.S. government encouraged farmers to grow hemp for the war effort because other industrial fibers, often imported from overseas, were in short supply. But the crop hasn’t been grown in the U.S. since the 1950s as the federal government moved to classify hemp as a controlled substance because it’s related to marijuana.

Hemp proponents argue the plant contains little of the mind-altering chemical THC.

Someone would have to "smoke a joint the size of a telephone pole," to get high from hemp, Roger Johnson, a hemp supporter and president of the National Farmers Union, said in a telephone interview.

Craig Lee & Senator Pendleton

Johnson has seen strong support for hemp in North Dakota, where he formerly served as state agriculture commissioner.

Two North Dakota farmers received the state’s first licenses to grow industrial hemp in 2007, but they never received approval from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. The farmers sued, but a federal appeals court affirmed a lower court decision dismissing the suit "There’s no amount of talking, and believe me I’ve tried, that might convince them otherwise," Johnson said of the DEA. "So short of the Congress passing a law defining industrial hemp differently from marijuana, I think it’s going to be a long, uphill battle to get anywhere."

KHC Chair Katie Moyer with James Comer

The federal Controlled Substances Act does not differentiate between marijuana and hemp, said Barbara Carreno, a DEA spokeswoman. As a result, "we would not approve applications to grow hemp because it is marijuana," she said.

Because of that, Johnson called for a grassroots push for congressional action to legalize hemp production.

Imports include finished hemp products and hemp material turned into goods. U.S. retail sales of hemp products exceeded $400 million last year, according to industry estimates.

Pete Ashman, of Philadelphia, was among those at the Lexington hemp seminar, where he displayed a myriad of hemp products, from food, to toilet paper to shampoo. He claimed, "There’s nothing greener on God’s earth."

Republican state Sen. Paul Hornback didn’t go that far, but the tobacco farmer from Shelbyville said in a phone interview that he sees industrial hemp as an alternative crop that could give Kentucky agriculture a boost if it ever gains a legal foothold.

James Comer

Agriculture Commissioner James Comer also supports legalization, arguing that industrial hemp could yield more per acre than corn and soybeans. He sees hemp as a viable alternative to tobacco, a once-stalwart crop that has been on the decline in Kentucky.

Comer, among the speakers at the Lexington seminar, said most Kentucky farmers have the equipment needed to produce hemp. He added that the crop needs no herbicides or pesticides, a plus for the environment and a cost savings for producers.

Hemp production would spin off new manufacturing, Comer said, creating jobs in parts of rural Kentucky where a once-thriving garment sector disappeared after the North American Free Trade Agreement took effect in the 1990s.

Once factories started churning out hemp products, farmers would flock to the crop, Comer predicted.

Comer, a Republican, said he’s been contacted by three "very legitimate industrial prospects" that would consider opening hemp production plants in Kentucky if the crop becomes legal to grow. One company wants to use hemp to make vehicle dashes, he said. Another wants to make ethanol, the other cosmetics out of hemp, he said.

John Riley

John Riley, a former magistrate in Spencer County, sees hemp as a potentially lucrative crop that could become a renewable fuel source. It would be a big transformation for a crop once known as a major source for rope.

"We’re not talking about rope, and we’re not talking about dope," he said. "What we’re talking about is a serious agricultural product."

Still, the crop needs to overcome what Riley refers to as the "snicker factor."

Pendleton said he’ll keep pushing the economic benefits of hemp.

"I look forward to continuing to fight the fight," Pendleton said. "We can make this happen in Kentucky."

Posted by David Hadland at 6:07 AM

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TOWARDS A NEW HEMP ARCHITECTURE

 

 

Architizer News – Towards A Hemp Architecture

Posted: 30 Mar 2012 04:30 AM PDT

One of three houses in North Carolina built with Hempcrete, design by Push Design with Hemp Technologies; Photo: Push Design

Given environmental decay and the construction industry’s significant role in accelerating the process,it is imperative that contemporary builders push for the development of renewable building materials capable of revolutionizing the practice of architecture and shaping our future built environment. In a profile in Smithsonian Magazine, MIT professor and structural engineer John Ochsendorf described the architecture of tomorrow, one not born of titanium or concrete, nor wrapped in space-age sheen, but one belonging to the technological lineage established by past building cultures, particularly those whose innovations were not contingent on the rapid manufacturing processes ushered in by the Industrial Revolution and were, thus, more invested, consciously or not, in building sustainably. Rather, Ochsendorf summons up archaeological visions of clay and dirt, manipulated and “used in an intelligent and beautiful way”, when communicating his idea of the architecture of the 21st century.Following this strain of thought, raw and renewable resources should be harnessed and augmented by digital technologies so as to engage with the environmental problems at hand (and in the future) while not ignoring the theoretical and aesthetic implications precipitated by a rehaul in building practice. Pioneering building materials derived from renewable hemp plants, North Carolina-based Hemp Technologies is working towards enacting some of these goals within current architectural production. Continue.

As the L.A. Times writes, the company, which has overseen the construction of three hemp houses in North Carolina, has announced that it wants to use hemp-based materials to build a small 500-square-foot structure on the site of Knapp’s Castle mansion near Santa Barbara, the ruins of which hint at the sprawling estate that once was. The compact building will functions a kind of prototype, with timber-framed walls filled in with Hempcrete, concrete-like mixture of wood chips sourced from Cannabis sativa and alime-based binder that can be sprayed onto surfaces, poured into slabs, or shaped with formwork. Among its many virtues, the material is very fire-resistant, is an extremely efficient insulator, can be grown with very little water, and is virtually impermeable to termites. The lime content in the hemp blocks sucks in large quantities carbon dioxide–up to 12 tons, according to the company’s own estimates–which it needs to harden, meaning that the wall continuously becomes more solid and that the structure, over time, becomes carbon negative.

It’s not all good news,though. The project has yet to obtain building permits, and the special hemp materials it proposes to incorporate into the design will have to be approved and certified safe. That might prove troublesome, considering that the production of hemp, which is derived from cannabis but contains only very low amounts of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), is currently barred by state and federal laws. The developers can still procure the hemp through imports, however, which companies such as Hemp Technologies and designers like Spanish architect Monika Brümmer–who has developed cannabis bricks for building–are exploiting to grow an economy of hemp-derived building materials.

by Samuel Medina

http://www.architizer.com/en_us/blog/dyn/40778/towards-a-hemp-architecture/

Industrial hemp has backers in state legislator

 

 

 

 

Hemp, Hemp Hooray

Posted: 29 Mar 2012 01:08 PM PDT

Industrial hemp has backers in state legislator

By Stephen Lega

Wednesday, March 28, 2012
http://www.lebanonenterprise.com/content/hemp-hemp-hooray

Terry Mills

Senator Joey Pendleton

Terry Mills normally asks questions during meetings of the Kentucky House of Representatives Agriculture Committee, but recently, he found himself on the other side of the table, answering questions about legalizing industrial hemp.
Mills and State Sen. Joey Pendleton, D-Hopkinsville, have introduced similar legislation in their respective houses in the hopes of making industrial hemp a legal cash crop again across the Bluegrass State.
"It’s not to promote marijuana," Mills stressed in his comments to the committee.
However, industrial hemp has been illegal to grow because it has been tied to its cousin in the plant kingdom.
Pendleton said hemp was used to make rope during the World Wars. After those wars, it faced competition from nylon rope makers, and the DuPont family was involved in producing nylon rope.
"They had enough clout at that time to get it declared illegal," Pendleton said.
Pendleton believes hemp could provide a boost to the Kentucky economy, but first, farmers have to be allowed to grow it.
"For once, I want Kentucky to be proactive instead of reactive," he said.
This isn’t a new issue for Pendleton. He said this year is the fourth time he has introduced legislation to allow industrial hemp to be grown in Kentucky.
He admits that the bill likely won’t be passed this year, but he is seeing more support for it on both sides of the aisle and across the state.
"It’s overwhelming the difference between this year and last year," he said.
Industrial hemp remains one of the most versatile plants in the world. It can be used to make a wide variety of products.
In addition to rope, hemp has been used to make paper for centuries. It’s fibers can be used to make clothing and paper. Its seeds and oil are used in manufacturing beauty products.
It’s also a good source of biodiesel and ethanol, according to Pendleton.
"It will make twice the ethanol per acre as corn will," he said.
This would also help address two issues. Pendleton said one of the concerns about using corn in alternative fuel is the effect that has on food prices by driving up the demand for corn. It could also help address the ongoing concern of the United States dependance on foreign oil for fuel.
Mills said two-thirds of the people in his district who responded to a survey said they supported industrial hemp as an agricultural product. As Kentucky farmers have lost revenue from tobacco, this could help replace some of that income.
"We need to educate the public all over the state about it," Mills said.
Pendleton has been doing what he can to do just that, giving presentations about industrial hemp across the state.
"Every time I do one, we have people that want us to do it somewhere else," he said.
He’s even planning to bring his presentation to Marion County in the near future, although a date has not yet been set.
A big part of the effort to educate the public is explaining the difference between hemp and marijuana. The marijuana plant is more bushy because growers want the leaves, according to Pendleton, while industrial hemp is a taller, more fibrous plant.
"To me, it’s like telling the difference between Johnson grass and corn," he said.
He’s hopeful that with more education, the bill will have a good chance of becoming law in 2013.
"We’re sitting on a gold mine here," Pendleton said.

Legislators Discuss Industrial Hemp

 

 

Rosalind Turner

Mar 07 |13:38 PM

FRANKFORT, KY (3/7/12) – Senator Joey Pendleton, D-Hopkinsville, joined members of the House of Representatives Terry Mills, D-Lebanon, W. Keith Hall, D-Pikeville, and Richard Henderson, D-Jeffersonville, today to discuss legalizing industrial hemp at the House Agriculture and Small Business Committee meeting.
Senator Pendleton has sponsored for the fourth year, legislation (Senate Bill 41) that would legalize industrial hemp as a cash crop in Kentucky. The three House members are sponsoring similar legislation – House Bill 272 (Mills) and House Bill 286 (Henderson and Hall).
The four discussed the economic development benefits to Kentucky, products made from hemp, and the importance of Kentucky being in the forefront of legalizing industrial hemp in the U.S.
SurfKY News
Information provided by Rosalind Turner

CONTINUE READING

Hemp Freedom Act

 

 

Hemp Freedom Act

The following is model legislation approved by the Tenth Amendment Center. Activists, we encourage you to send this to your state senators and representatives – and ask them to introduce this legislation in your state.

AN ACT

To authorize the production of industrial hemp; to amend (SUBSECTION AND CODE) of the KENTUCKY Code, relating to the definition of noxious weed seeds; and to nullify certain acts of the Federal Government of the United States purporting to be laws and regulations resulting in the prohibition of industrial hemp farming in the state of KENTUCKY

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF KENTUCKY DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS:

SECTION 1. Name

This Act shall be known and may be cited as the “Hemp Freedom Act.”

SECTION 2. Findings

A new section of law to be codified in the [STATE] Statutes as Section [NUMBER] of Title [NUMBER], unless there is created a duplication in numbering, reads as follows:

(CHAPTER)

Section (#) (A) The General Assembly finds that :

(1) The Tenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States codifies in law that the only powers which the Federal Government may exercise are those that have been delegated to it in the Constitution of the United States;

(2) The Ninth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States guarantees to the people rights not enumerated in the Constitution and reserves to the people of (STATE) those rights;

(3) The power to regulate interstate commerce was delegated to the federal government in Article I, Section 8, Clause 3 of the Constitution. As understood at the time of the founding, the regulation of commerce was meant to empower Congress to regulate the buying and selling of products made by others (and sometimes land), associated finance and financial instruments, and navigation and other carriage, across state jurisdictional lines. This interstate regulation of “commerce” did not include agriculture, manufacturing, mining, malum in se crime, or land use. Nor did it include activities that merely “substantially affected” commerce;

(4) The advocates of the Constitution, at the time of its ratification, assured the People of the Several States that the regulation of agriculture would be reserved to the States. This included Alexander Hamilton, who wrote in Federalist #17: “the supervision of agriculture and of other concerns of a similar nature, all those things, in short, which are proper to be provided for by local legislation can never be desirable cases of a general jurisdiction.” This was reinforced by many others, including Justice Sargeant of Massachusetts, who let it be known that only the states would have the power to regulate “common fields” and “fisheries”;

(5) The Constitutional Convention of 1787 considered a proposal to create, in the Constitution, a Secretary of Domestic Affairs, who was to have authority to regulate agriculture. That proposal was rejected;

(6) The assumption of power that the Federal Government through its Drug Enforcement Administration has made by prohibiting industrial hemp farming exceeds its Constitutional authority and interferes with the right of the People of the State of KENTUCKY to regulate agriculture as they see fit, and makes a mockery of James Madison’s assurance in Federalist #45 that the “powers delegated” to the Federal Government are “few and defined”, while those of the States are “numerous and indefinite.”

(7) Federal agents have flouted the United States Constitution and foresworn their oath to support this Constitution by prohibiting industrial farming of hemp by the People of the State of (STATE), and these actions violate the limits of authority placed upon the federal agents by the United States Constitution and are dangerous to the liberties of the people;

SECTION 3. Authorization to Plant, Grow, Harvest, Possess, Process, Sell, and Buy

A. Industrial hemp (cannabis sativa l.), having no more than three-tenths of one percent tetrahydrocannabinol, is recognized as an oilseed. Upon meeting this requirement, any person in this state may plant, grow, harvest, possess, process, sell, and buy industrial hemp (cannabis sativa l.) having no more than three-tenths of one percent tetrahydrocannabinol.

SECTION 4. Nullification of Federal Prohibitions

A. The Legislature of the State of KENTUCKY declares that the federal prohibitions on industrial hemp farming are not authorized by the Constitution of the United States and violates its true meaning and intent as given by the Founders and Ratifiers, and are hereby declared to be invalid in this state, shall not be recognized by this state, are specifically rejected by this state, and shall be considered null and void and of no effect in this state.

B. It shall be the duty of the legislature of this State to adopt and enact any and all measures as may be necessary to prevent the enforcement of federal prohibitions on industrial hemp farming within the limits of this State.

C. Any official, agent, or employee of the United States government or any employee of a corporation providing services to the United States government that enforces or attempts to enforce an act, order, law, statute, rule or regulation of the government of the United States in violation of this act shall be guilty of a felony and upon conviction must be punished by a fine not exceeding two thousand dollars ($2,000.00), or a term of imprisonment not exceeding two (2) years, or both.

D. Any public officer or employee of the State of KENTUCKY that enforces or attempts to enforce an act, order, law, statute, rule or regulation of the government of the United States in violation of this act shall be guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment in the county jail not exceeding six (6) months or by a fine not exceeding Five Hundred Dollars ($500.00) or both such fine and imprisonment.

SECTION 5.

This act takes effect upon approval by the Governor.

 

***

Kentucky

District
Name
Party
Room
Phone
Committee Assignment

1
Whitfield, Ed
R
2368 RHOB
202-225-3115
Energy and Commerce

2
Guthrie, S. Brett
R
308 CHOB
202-225-3501
Energy and Commerce

3
Yarmuth, John A.
D
435 CHOB
202-225-5401
Budget
Ethics
Oversight and Government Reform

4
Davis, Geoff
R
1119 LHOB
202-225-3465
Ways and Means

5
Rogers, Harold
R
2406 RHOB
202-225-4601
Appropriations, Chairman

6
Chandler, Ben
D
1504 LHOB
202-225-4706
Foreign Affairs
Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence

****

WHO IS MY LEGISLATOR?

Hemp Freedom Act

 

Hemp Freedom Act

The following is model legislation approved by the Tenth Amendment Center. Activists, we encourage you to send this to your state senators and representatives – and ask them to introduce this legislation in your state.

AN ACT

To authorize the production of industrial hemp; to amend (SUBSECTION AND CODE) of the KENTUCKY Code, relating to the definition of noxious weed seeds; and to nullify certain acts of the Federal Government of the United States purporting to be laws and regulations resulting in the prohibition of industrial hemp farming in the state of KENTUCKY

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF KENTUCKY DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS:

SECTION 1. Name

This Act shall be known and may be cited as the “Hemp Freedom Act.”

SECTION 2. Findings

A new section of law to be codified in the [STATE] Statutes as Section [NUMBER] of Title [NUMBER], unless there is created a duplication in numbering, reads as follows:

(CHAPTER)

Section (#) (A) The General Assembly finds that :

(1) The Tenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States codifies in law that the only powers which the Federal Government may exercise are those that have been delegated to it in the Constitution of the United States;

(2) The Ninth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States guarantees to the people rights not enumerated in the Constitution and reserves to the people of (STATE) those rights;

(3) The power to regulate interstate commerce was delegated to the federal government in Article I, Section 8, Clause 3 of the Constitution. As understood at the time of the founding, the regulation of commerce was meant to empower Congress to regulate the buying and selling of products made by others (and sometimes land), associated finance and financial instruments, and navigation and other carriage, across state jurisdictional lines. This interstate regulation of “commerce” did not include agriculture, manufacturing, mining, malum in se crime, or land use. Nor did it include activities that merely “substantially affected” commerce;

(4) The advocates of the Constitution, at the time of its ratification, assured the People of the Several States that the regulation of agriculture would be reserved to the States. This included Alexander Hamilton, who wrote in Federalist #17: “the supervision of agriculture and of other concerns of a similar nature, all those things, in short, which are proper to be provided for by local legislation can never be desirable cases of a general jurisdiction.” This was reinforced by many others, including Justice Sargeant of Massachusetts, who let it be known that only the states would have the power to regulate “common fields” and “fisheries”;

(5) The Constitutional Convention of 1787 considered a proposal to create, in the Constitution, a Secretary of Domestic Affairs, who was to have authority to regulate agriculture. That proposal was rejected;

(6) The assumption of power that the Federal Government through its Drug Enforcement Administration has made by prohibiting industrial hemp farming exceeds its Constitutional authority and interferes with the right of the People of the State of KENTUCKY to regulate agriculture as they see fit, and makes a mockery of James Madison’s assurance in Federalist #45 that the “powers delegated” to the Federal Government are “few and defined”, while those of the States are “numerous and indefinite.”

(7) Federal agents have flouted the United States Constitution and foresworn their oath to support this Constitution by prohibiting industrial farming of hemp by the People of the State of (STATE), and these actions violate the limits of authority placed upon the federal agents by the United States Constitution and are dangerous to the liberties of the people;

SECTION 3. Authorization to Plant, Grow, Harvest, Possess, Process, Sell, and Buy

A. Industrial hemp (cannabis sativa l.), having no more than three-tenths of one percent tetrahydrocannabinol, is recognized as an oilseed. Upon meeting this requirement, any person in this state may plant, grow, harvest, possess, process, sell, and buy industrial hemp (cannabis sativa l.) having no more than three-tenths of one percent tetrahydrocannabinol.

SECTION 4. Nullification of Federal Prohibitions

A. The Legislature of the State of KENTUCKY declares that the federal prohibitions on industrial hemp farming are not authorized by the Constitution of the United States and violates its true meaning and intent as given by the Founders and Ratifiers, and are hereby declared to be invalid in this state, shall not be recognized by this state, are specifically rejected by this state, and shall be considered null and void and of no effect in this state.

B. It shall be the duty of the legislature of this State to adopt and enact any and all measures as may be necessary to prevent the enforcement of federal prohibitions on industrial hemp farming within the limits of this State.

C. Any official, agent, or employee of the United States government or any employee of a corporation providing services to the United States government that enforces or attempts to enforce an act, order, law, statute, rule or regulation of the government of the United States in violation of this act shall be guilty of a felony and upon conviction must be punished by a fine not exceeding two thousand dollars ($2,000.00), or a term of imprisonment not exceeding two (2) years, or both.

D. Any public officer or employee of the State of KENTUCKY that enforces or attempts to enforce an act, order, law, statute, rule or regulation of the government of the United States in violation of this act shall be guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment in the county jail not exceeding six (6) months or by a fine not exceeding Five Hundred Dollars ($500.00) or both such fine and imprisonment.

SECTION 5.

This act takes effect upon approval by the Governor.

 

***

Kentucky

District
Name
Party
Room
Phone
Committee Assignment

1
Whitfield, Ed
R
2368 RHOB
202-225-3115
Energy and Commerce

2
Guthrie, S. Brett
R
308 CHOB
202-225-3501
Energy and Commerce

3
Yarmuth, John A.
D
435 CHOB
202-225-5401
Budget
Ethics
Oversight and Government Reform

4
Davis, Geoff
R
1119 LHOB
202-225-3465
Ways and Means

5
Rogers, Harold
R
2406 RHOB
202-225-4601
Appropriations, Chairman

6
Chandler, Ben
D
1504 LHOB
202-225-4706
Foreign Affairs
Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence

****

WHO IS MY LEGISLATOR?

Medical Marijuana Bill Stalled in Committee

 

 

 

Medical Marijuana Bill Stalled in Committee

 

3/11/2012 10:23 AM EDT Tags: drugs, assembly, sb129, marijuana

A long awaited and much needed medical marijuana bill has finally been filed in the Kentucky Assembly. State Senate Bill 129, the Gatewood Galbraith Memorial Medical Marijuana Act was filed on January 31, 2012 by Senator Perry Clark of Louisville. The bill is simply written. It reschedules marijuana in Kentucky from Schedule I dangerous and having no medical value, to Schedule II dangerous but having medical value. This allows physicians to prescribe the drug for qualifying conditions to be determined by the doctor. The bill allows for cultivation of 5 marijuana plants and possession of up to 5 ounces per month. The regulation of distribution is left up to the Pharmacy Board.

The bill caught activists and patients completely off guard. Activists have been writing and petitioning the Assembly for years to get this bill and they immediately sprang into action. They have been organizing over the internet and are pressing their own legislators and all the members of the Assembly individually and as a group to support and pass this legislation. Senator Kathy Stein of Lexington immediately signed on as co-sponsor and the bill has been sent to the Senate Judicial Committee where it has run into a bit of trouble. The Committee Chair, Senator Tom Jensen has so far refused to bring the measure up in committee. Without his calling up the bill it could be dead for this year. Senator Jensen has not been forthcoming with his reasons for holding up the bill. He could be thinking that the bill will die in committee and disappear. I’m afraid that is not going to happen. Now that a bill has finally been filed legislators can expect to see it from here on out till it becomes law. If a legislator wanted to get rid of this bill so he won’t have to deal with it, it might behoove him to get it over with rather than drag it out for another year or years, as could be the case.

After listening to Drug War propaganda for their entire lives I imagine there is some trepidation among legislators regarding their support for marijuana law reform but it is unfounded. There as yet has not been any type of voter backlash directed at legislators. With an approval rating of 81% in nationwide polls, medical marijuana legislation should not be controversial and patients should not have to wait another year to access this effective medicine.

The course of action for supporters of SB129 will be for them to prevail upon Senator Jensen to end his obstructionism and bring the bill up and pass it favorably out of committee. There can be no moral justification for the Assembly to not get this bill passed this year. For the members of the Assembly to ignore the suffering of our sick and disabled citizens and to make them suffer unnecessarily is appalling and a black mark against what should be a concerned and caring leadership.

Whatever the reason for the Judicial Committee not taking up SB129, the lack of action is sending a message to the citizens that their leaders are indifferent to their suffering. The Assembly may be able to wait another year , but those of our citizens with life threatening conditions might not be around when the Assembly finally gets to it.

CONTINUE READING…..

Lawmakers promote hemp as cash crop in Kentucky Associated Press

 

  FRANKFORT, Ky. — Lawmakers have grown bolder in their push to allow farmers to grow hemp in Kentucky, a Bible-belt state where the issue was once considered politically taboo.

Growing hemp is illegal under federal law, but supporters want to lift the state ban with hopes of Kentucky becoming a leading grower of the versatile crop if the federal ban is lifted.

The House Agriculture and Small Business Committee held a hearing Wednesday on two bills pending in the state Legislature. Neither bill was called for a vote.

Most Kentucky political leaders have dismissed the issue in the past because of fears that voters might somehow conclude that they’re also pro-marijuana. But the issue was a centerpiece in last year’s race for agriculture commissioner, which was won decisively by Jamie Comer, a hemp proponent.

Comer said growing industrial hemp would allow expansion of Kentucky farm markets and create jobs in rural communities.

Industrial hemp, a cousin to marijuana, is used to make fuel, cattle feed, textiles, paper, lotion, cosmetics and other products. Though it contains trace amounts of the mind-altering chemical tetrahydrocannabinol that makes marijuana intoxicating, it remains illegal in the U.S.

Ed Shemelya, regional marijuana coordinator in the Appalachian High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area, said police continue to oppose legalization of hemp because there’s no way to visually distinguish it from marijuana.

“It’s an enforcement nightmare,” Shemelya said.

State Rep. Keith Hall, D-Phelps, said he believes people are beginning to realize the potential economic value of hemp and that is allowing political leaders to feel more comfortable in promoting it.

“I would say today that the issue is fear, and the great President Roosevelt said ‘what do we have to fear but fear itself,”’ Hall said.

Hall said people might think it odd that “a Bible-read man” would speak in favor of allowing Kentucky farmers to grow hemp.

“They’re saying the best Bibles are made with hemp paper over in France, because they don’t yellow; they don’t tear; they don’t tarnish,” he said.

Sen. Joey Pendleton, D-Hopkinsville, said he expects the federal government will lift the ban on hemp production in the future, and that he wants Kentucky to be ready to plant the crop as soon as that happens.

Kentucky has an ideal climate for hemp production and during World War II it was a leading grower of the plant that produces strong fibers used in fabrics, ropes and other materials for the military.

CONTINUE READING…

Hemp could make a comeback

 

 

By Kevin Wheatley

about 23 hours ago

Industrial hemp could make a comeback as one of Kentucky’s top cash crops if lawmakers legalize the harvest of marijuana’s botanical cousin, legislators have told a House committee.

The Agricultural and Small Business Committee on Wednesday heard from key sponsors of two pieces of legislation –House bills 272 and 286 – that would make hemp a legal crop if the federal government lifts restrictions on it. 

The bills didn’t come to a vote, but Rep. Tom McKee, a Cynthiana Democrat and the committee’s chairman, said the discussion would continue so both sides of the argument could be heard.

Sponsors spoke for about 30 minutes, highlighting primarily the many legal products produced by industrial hemp, such as textiles, paper, auto plastics, rope, construction material, cosmetics and feed for cattle.

The trickle-down effect would create 17,000 jobs and result in an economic impact between $400 million and $500 million, said Sen. Joey Pendleton, D-Hopkinsville, quoting a University of Kentucky survey from years ago.

“We’re sitting on the cutting edge and, to me, on a gold mine here of what we can do in the Commonwealth of Kentucky to create jobs and to give our agriculture people another opportunity to grow something,” he said.

Eighty-five percent of industrial hemp produced in Canada is shipped to the U.S., and China sends a large amount here as well, Pendleton added. 

He also noted that Kentucky has an ideal climate and was a top hemp producer prior to and during World War II until the federal government banned it amid political pressure from nylon and paper manufacturers in the 1950s.

While there’s concern that hemp would be confused with marijuana, Pendleton said the two plants can be distinguished easily and cross-pollination between the two plants decreases tetrahydrocannabinol, the active ingredient in marijuana.

However, Ed Shemelya, regional marijuana coordinator in the Appalachian High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area, disagreed and said police continue to oppose legalization of hemp because there’s no way to visually distinguish it from marijuana.

“It’s an enforcement nightmare,” Shemelya said after the meeting.

Rep. Keith Hall, D-Phelps, said hemp oil could be explored as an alternative fuel source. He noted that Henry Ford built his first automobile using hemp products and ran it on hemp diesel fuel.

Bio-diesel fuel produced from hemp emits no sulfur when it’s used, making it the only fuel that passes the Environment Protection Agency’s Clear Air Act, Hall said. 

Hemp plants could also be used on mine reclamation sites as they soak up contaminants, he said. 

Legislators have been hesitant to consider legalizing hemp with its link to marijuana, but Hall said the potential economic impact has thawed some, but not all, concerns.

“I would say today that the issue is fear,” Hall told the panel.

Rep. Terry Mills, D-Lebanon, said 66 percent of his constituents support legalizing industrial hemp.

“… The ag economy is the best its been in 40 years, and we’re seeing that in grain and cattle prices, but we always need diversity in agriculture,” Mills said. 

“If this can be developed as a viable crop in agriculture, it can only help the agriculture community and, again, those people who live out in rural Kentucky.”

It’s unclear how much support the bills have on the House committee, but two members –Rep. Fred Nesler, D-Mayfield, and Rep. Johnny Bell, D-Glasgow –commended sponsors for speaking about the issue.

“I look forward to future discussion,” Nesler said. “I hope we don’t just drag this issue like sometimes we do. This is an issue that almost seems too sensible.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

CONTINUE READING…

Pending industrial hemp legislation could go to pot

 

 

By Brad Bowman

Thursday, March 1, 2012 at 6:19 pm

Two bills in state legislation for the legalization of industrial hemp could offer a transition crop for farmers in Nelson County.  Central Kentucky was the largest producer of hemp during World War II for rope production, but state officials say it isn’t legislation but law enforcement that will decide hemp’s future in the state or Nelson County.

Hemp has been looked at as alternative energy source in the past, according to Nelson County Extension Agent, Ron Bowman.

“If it was feasible at all, we would have to be closer to the actual power plants,” Bowman said. “It all depends on the price of the product, what would it cost to ship it and whether our farmers can actually make money from it.”

Industrial hemp is a non-psychoactive variety of the Cannabis sativa plant. Given its low THC content, it would not be attractive as a recreational drug like marijuana, but the stigma has helped stop its legalization.

Hemp studies have been initiated in the past, but the Federal Drug Enforcement Administration denied permits to the Dean of University of Kentucky’s College of Agriculture Scott Smith.

“There are advocates on both sides of the issue,” Smith said. “The ultimate question is whether hemp is an economic solution for farmers.”

There isn’t sufficient research on industrial hemp to discern whether it is economically viable for farmers, according to Smith. Research exists in Canada and Europe for production, but not the market research needed in the U.S., according to Smith. When the University of Kentucky and Kentucky State University were encouraged to research hemp production, Smith was denied by the DEA.

“We have studies on switch back grass and miscanthus grass which could be just as productive as hemp for an energy source, but we just don’t know enough about it,” Smith said.

Hemp could be the transition crop for local Nelson County tobacco farmers if research could support the crop as an economical and marketable product.

“There are a lot of unanswered questions out there about whether it is right for our farmers. If it can be used in all the different ways people claim that it can, farmers are interested,” State Sen. Jimmy Higdon said. “We need the universities to research it and show that it can work, but we need law enforcement on board to make this happen.”

The bills would require farmers to be licensed by the Department of Agriculture and pass a criminal history check by local sheriffs. Sheriffs would do random test inspections of hemp fields at a fee of $5 per acre with a minimum $150 fee. The money would be divided between the sheriff and agriculture departments.

The transition crop couldn’t come soon enough for farming families looking for an alternative to tobacco, according to State Rep., David Floyd.

“It’s a fact that we need to move tobacco farmers toward another crop,” Floyd said. “A lot has been taken away from tobacco farmers. Years ago, tobacco fields put their children through school. “

Industrial hemp is considered a controlled substance by the DEA. Bound by international treaty laws, the DEA can only legally grant one entity the permit to research cannabis in any form, according to DEA Public Relations Officer Barbara Carreno in Washington D.C. The University of Mississippi currently possesses the permit.

“Our main concern is security. We have security requirements that must be met in regards to researching controlled substances,” Carreno said. “The university is required by law to regularly publish reports for compliance with security and research.”

The permit is just one part of the process for legal research by any entity. The National Institute on Drug Abuse oversees the approval process, which requires the reports from an approved research group. The DEA doesn’t approve or disapprove research, Carreno said.

States that have legalized medicinal marijuana are operating in violation of federal law. North Dakota has sued the DEA for the right to grow industrial hemp, Carreno said. The lack of legal research confuses the issue of industrial hemp and street marijuana sought after by drug users.

“Hemp is long and spindle-like,” Smith said. “There is an argument that cross pollination would render an illegal plant grown in the same field with less than desirable levels of THC, but we don’t have the research to support that.”

The profitability of industrial hemp and the legal hurdles to produce the crop isn’t lost on Kentucky Agricultural Commissioner James Comer.

“The U.S. is the only country that doesn’t grow industrial hemp. North Dakota is suing the DEA because they can see the money being made in Canada,” Comer said. “We will continue to educate people statewide to address the misinformation and the potential it has for our agricultural economy.”

It is a cheaper crop for farmers to put out than crops such as corn grown for ethanol and it is greener. Industrial hemp doesn’t require fertilizer, Comer said.

The crop could produce a significant contribution to the agriculture economy. It wouldn’t be just an opportunity for farmers but the state, according to Comer.

“This could create manufacturing jobs. We have companies that would come here for manufacturing greener products to replace plastic for the automotive industry such as car dashes,” Comer said.

The commissioner maintains an optimistic stance on the legality issues surrounding industrial hemp and its classification. U.S. Representative for Texas’s 14th congressional district, Ron Paul’s introduction of H.R. 1831 would take industrial hemp out of the jurisdiction of the DEA by declassifying it as a controlled substance, according to Comer.

“This is truly a bipartisan issue,” Comer said. “Everyone from the far right to the far left is on board to make this happen. We have to look ahead and we have everything we need without asking for money or raising taxes.”

BRAD BOWMAN can be reached at bbowman@lcni.com

The rebirth of U.S. Hemp Farming should start in Kentucky!

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