Hemp supporters headed to Washington to plead case for waiver - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Hemp supporters headed to Washington to plead case for waiver

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- The push to grow hemp in Kentucky is headed to Washington, DC. starting tomorrow. Hemp supporters will try to convince the feds to allow a new cash crop in Kentucky.

The bill to regulate hemp production in Kentucky passed after a huge fight here at the State Capitol. Now the focus shifts to the Nation's Capitol.

Paul Hornback is a lifelong farmer and a state senator who is pushing for the legalization of industrial hemp.

He's among those who will travel to Washington seeking a federal waiver to allow hemp production in Kentucky.

"Well, I hope that common sense sets in. I hope they'll realize that we sold over 400-million dollars worth of the product here in the U.S. last year. That it's a market that not only our farmers are missing out on but our retailers are missing out on somewhat.There's a lot of opportunity out there," said Hornback.

 "We're meeting with the DEA. We're meeting with the U.S. Dept.of Agriculture. We're having meetings with high-ranking people in the Obama Administration," said Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner James Comer.

Comer will argue that producing hemp will produce jobs.

"This will create badly needed tax revenue. We need tax revenue. We're not going to raise taxes, so we've got to generate economic activity. Industrial hemp will do that."

"As a farmer, I'm always looking for opportunities. And I think this is an opportunity for our producers," said Hornback.

Hornback says the hemp effort has bipartisan support from Kentucky's congressional delegation. He's hoping that despite the notorious Washington gridlock, this effort will yield a harvest.

"What are the chances for anything in Washington getting done? Outside of that, I think the chances are pretty good."

"We've got the regulatory framework. We've already identified the processors. They've identified a lot of farmers that want to grow it. So, we're ready to go here in Kentucky. Hopefully we can make a good pitch," added Comer.

Comer hopes to have an answer from the Obama administration by this fall to meet his goal of having a crop in the ground by next spring.

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