Skip to main content

Mitch McConnell Endorses Kentucky Hemp Bill

Submitted by Phillip Smith on (Issue #770)
Drug War Issues

In a statement last Thursday, Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY), the minority leader in the US Senate, endorsed pending legislation in his home state that seeks to reintroduce industrial hemp cultivation there. The bill already has the support of the state's other US senator, Rand Paul, and Agricultural Commissioner James Comer, who were instrumental in bringing McConnell on board.

Is it sunrise for industrial hemp in Kentucky? (
"After long discussions with Senator Rand Paul and Commissioner James Comer on the economic benefits of industrialized hemp, I am convinced that allowing its production will be a positive development for Kentucky's farm families and economy," McConnell said. "The utilization of hemp to produce everything from clothing to paper is real, and if there is a capacity to center a new domestic industry in Kentucky that will create jobs in these difficult economic times, that sounds like a good thing to me."

But McConnell first had to be reassured that industrial hemp wouldn't somehow turn into recreational marijuana. Comer apparently managed the trick.

"Commissioner Comer has assured me that his office is committed to pursuing industrialized hemp production in a way that does not compromise Kentucky law enforcement's marijuana eradication efforts or in any way promote illegal drug use," McConnell said.

In a statement of his own last Thursday, Comer expressed enormous gratitude for McConnell's support.

"When the most powerful Republican in the country calls to discuss your issue, that's a good day on the job," Comer said. "Leader McConnell's support adds immeasurable strength to our efforts to bring good jobs to Kentucky."

The hemp bill, Senate Bill 50, sponsored by Sen. Paul Hornback (R-Shelbyville), would direct the state Agriculture Department to create a program for licensing industrial hemp producers, but would not go into effect until there is a change in federal law, which bans the production -- but not the importation -- of industrial hemp.

In addition to both US senators, the bill has also garnered the support of two of the state's six US representatives, US Reps. John Yarmuth (D) and Thomas Massie (R). The two congressmen, Sen. Paul, and Commissioner Comer will all testify in favor of the bill.

"Our federal delegation is showing tremendous leadership," Comer said. "They recognize this is not a partisan issue. It's about jobs. And we will continue to push forward to make sure Kentucky is first in line for them."

State legislative leaders are also firmly backing the bill. Senate Majority Leader Damon Thayer (R-Georgetown) joined Sen. Hornback in convincing the Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce to endorse the bill. It did so Wednesday.

The bill gets a hearing in the Senate Agriculture Committee on February 11.

Permission to Reprint: This content is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license. Content of a purely educational nature in Drug War Chronicle appear courtesy of DRCNet Foundation, unless otherwise noted.


Anonymouse (not verified)

We may not realize this now, but this may prove to be be more significant than any other current reform. If people start to see just how beneficial hemp can be they are going to question why it ever was illegal. Paper, cord, clothing, food, oil, cellulose, etc...

The toughest thing about telling a lie is when the people discover the truth, then 'all' credibility vanishes. 

Fri, 02/01/2013 - 1:47am Permalink
Uncle Bob (not verified)

Now we'll know for SURE if the conspiracy theory guys were right or not... if there's big money interests that want to keep Hemp out, they'll make their move to squash this fast.  I for one think the evil shadow organization does NOT exist and soon we'll all be chilling in hemp clothes.  Can't wait for that unrivaled comfort they promise.

Fri, 02/01/2013 - 11:54am Permalink
mexweedi (not verified)

Someone on another blog expressed concern that the pollen from the industrial hemp fields would neutralize the value of high-THC cannabis--- no problem, indoor growing can continue as now, only maybe in order to evade the unwanted pollen rather than to evade Blaw Enhorsement.

The interesting question is will McConnell run into problems with Big 2WackGo which is a major sponsor of the Republican Party????  Kentucky is second-ranking tobacco-growing state and BIG MONEY is at stake.

PS-- regarding industrial hemp, its greatest contribution worldwide might be to conquer desertification and CLIMATE CHANGE (floods, droughts, hurricanes, all that good stuff).  Hemp is rated among BEST PRECURSOR CROPS for forest planting; trees are planet's main CUSTODIANS OF FRESH WATER SUPPLY.

Good luck Kentucky, start with replanting those tobacco fields, now what about the Three-I League?  Indiana, Illinois and Iowa are full of CORN, a good precursor crop for cannabis!

Fri, 02/01/2013 - 6:25pm Permalink
Uncle Bob (not verified)

I guess they say the pollen would fertilize regular weedplants with that no-THC genes, and cause all pot everywhere to stop getting people high.


Sounds scary.. like this is their new strategy.  

Mon, 02/04/2013 - 12:39am Permalink

Add new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.