Kentucky industrial hemp bill prospects looking good, law enforcement predictably opposes


Vintage post card from Kentucky showing hemp farming.

A Kentucky state senator says his proposal for regulated industrial hemp production in that state has a pretty good chance of succeeding this year. Senator Paul Hornback, a republican from Shelbyville who currently holds the Senate Agriculture committee chairman seat, has the backing of the Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner, the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce, and high-profile U.S. Senator Rand Paul. Some say the bill would have as many as 22 votes out of the 38 possible needed for the Senate to push the bill forward.

But law enforcement is (predictably) opposed to Kentucky re-legalizing the cash crop. A group of law enforcement officers from around Kentucky put out a press release Monday, slamming the two bills currently being floated in the Bluegrass State.
“You have some prominent people supporting Senate Bill 50 and House Bill 33, but they are looking through rose-colored glasses if they believe hemp production would be a good alternative crop or provide an economic boom,” said Dan Smoot, president of Operation UNITE, a law enforcement/political group in Kentucky opposed to the bill.
Industrial hemp production.

Maybe so, but it’s better to be seeing things at all, compared to the law enforcement folks that are clearly still wearing their blinders. In their press release they basically tout a bunch of nonsense as facts. Including saying that “cannabis hemp can be abused as a drug and hemp farming would greatly complicate drug law enforcement activities.”
They go on to say that there are better and cheaper fibers produced in other countries. Kentucky farmers, they say, wouldn’t benefit from the “small, thin” industrial hemp market in America currently.

Industrial hemp plants.

“Where are the independent studies? If there was a huge market for hemp there would be lobbyists sitting in Washington trying to get this legalized on a national level,” said Sheriff Kevin Johnson of Clay County, apparently a county already known as a cannabis cultivation hotbed for Kentucky. “I believe this is just the first step in the process to legalize marijuana, which I’m definitely against. It has the potential of creating mass confusion and problems for law enforcement.”
There’s also this gem from the opposition: “Although industrial hemp contains only a small percentage of THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, the plants are indistinguishable to the eye. Without laboratory analysis, you can’t tell them apart,” said Tommy Loving, executive director of the Kentucky Narcotic Officers’ Association, in the press release. Apparently nobody at the Kentucky Narcotic Officers’ Association owns a computer or knows how to use Google’s image search.

A large, wide bush of fine California sensi buds.

Apparently Kentucky law enforcement can’t tell the difference between 20-foot-tall lanky stalks grown for fiber with seeds, bugs and whatever else versus squat, well cared-for bushes with massive colas on them. That, and they haven’t read the bill which requires THC testing on the harvest. They also go on to say that if the industrial hemp bill were passed, farmers would no doubt cross-pollinate their hemp fields with consumable cannabis (no doubt bringing on a plague of hippies in their minds).
Below, check out the oddly cult-classic Hemp for Victory campaign propaganda video from 1942 filmed in part in Kentucky. It’s old, but still gives a glimpse into the types of industrial harvesting techniques used that no marijuana grower would ever use on their Sour Diesel bushes: