Hemp ally in Kentucky
Hemp crops are helping Kentucky farmers. This boost to Kentucky farm communities has found a new ally in the marijuana industry, U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY). McConnell is in favor of legalizing hemp for industrial use. The state he represents, Kentucky, has a hemp crop pilot program that started in 2014 and it’s been a good replacement for tobacco and it is helping farmers and families make a living. McConnell’s proposed farm bill will classify hemp as an industrial crop and remove it from the federal government’s controlled substances list. He is a key advocate for the Farm Bill now circulating in the Senate.
Hemp legalization pending
The Senate Committee Approved a Farm Bill with Hemp Legalization language. It did face opposition and there was a proposed amendment that was prohibiting parts of the hemp plant for farmers to use extractions from the plant. This would seem to have farmers start back at zero and not move forward. But the senate went on and the bill passed 86-11. It is predicted that it will still face an uphill battle in Congress.
Farmers are pro hemp
Farmer’s believe that hemp has been wrongfully lumped together with marijuana under the 1970 Controlled Substances Act. Hemp was grown and used by the likes of George Washington and Thomas Jefferson and during World War II, hemp was used for naval towlines, parachute webbing and other products.
Hemp products imported
The United States sells over $600M worth of goods made from hemp. These products are mainly imported from Canada which has legally grown hemp since 1998. There are 30 countries around the world that grow industrial hemp China being the largest producer.
Kentucky Farmers hit by deregulation
Deregulation of the Tobacco industry was implemented in 2004 to keep US farmers competitive with international tobacco growers. The numbers of Farmer’s dropped considerably and with government subsidies expiring in 2014 there has been a 60% drop in US tobacco crops over the past 20 years. Kentucky and North Carolina have been the hardest hit. Let’s hope that Congress sees the big picture and how hemp can be a viable crop.