POV: Legalize Hemp (2/14/13)
I'm not an expert on either hemp or marijuana. But based on what I understand about proposals to legalize the growing of industrial hemp in Kentucky, it seems like a good idea to me.
Proponents of the idea - including Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner James Comer - point out that hemp is already a major agricultural product in China, Africa and Europe. And that becoming the first state in the U.S. to grow the crop would provide a major boost to the Commonwealth -- to both farming and manufacturing.
Some law enforcement officials oppose the idea, saying officers in the field would have a difficult time distinguishing industrial hemp from marijuana. But Comer says the sheriffs and police chiefs in the communities he visits assure him they can tell the difference.
Besides, if we followed that reasoning, it'd be illegal to grow corn, wheat or soybeans if they happened to look like marijuana!
Yes, growing hemp is still illegal on the federal level. But Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell and several other legislators are spearheading efforts in Washington to strike down that prohibition as well. And if that happens, Kentucky needs to be ready to take advantage of the opportunity.
Kentucky has, for too long, been disproportionately dependent upon tobacco - a product with a bleak future. Hemp could provide us with a much brighter economic outlook. And I'd like to see our lawmakers give it a chance.
I'm Bill Lamb, and that's my…Point of View.