Monday, December 9 2013 9:54 AM EST2013-12-09 14:54:27 GMT
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- The Ky. General Assembly passed the controversial hemp bill, as the session wound down from coming to an agreement on the state's pension reform plan.
The bill would regulate and license the hemp industry in Kentucky, if the federal government ever lifts the ban on the crop.
Hemp was once a big cash crop for Kentucky until Washington outlawed it years ago.
"The people want Kentucky to change direction, be bold, and be a leader for once," Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner James Comer said Wednesday. "And that's what Senate Bill 50 symbolized."
Local legislators are sounding off on the bill's passage.
"I commend the Kentucky General Assembly for final passage of Senate Bill 50," said Ky. Sen. Rand Paul. "Senate Bill 50 is an important step forward in the reintroduction of industrial hemp in Kentucky. I have pledged, along with Rep. John Yarmuth, to seek a waiver when a regulatory framework is in place. I will follow through on that pledge and I hope that Kentucky will soon start growing hemp, creating jobs and leading the nation in this industry again."
Ky. Sen. Mitch McConnell also voiced his support for the bill.
"I applaud Commissioner James Comer for his leadership on the issue and the Kentucky General Assembly for passing the legislation which has the potential to provide an economic boost to Kentucky, create jobs and allow Kentucky farmers to harness the economic potential that industrial hemp can provide," McConnell said. "I will continue to work with Senator Paul on a federal approach that would enable Kentucky farmers to cultivate and profit from industrial hemp in a way that does not compromise Kentucky law enforcement's marijuana eradication efforts or in any way promote illegal drug use."