Lawmaker fires up hemp plan
Lexington, KY (AP) — A Kentucky lawmaker has introduced legislation to legalize industrial hemp as a cash crop and a source for alternative fuels.
Sen. Joey Pendleton, a Democrat from Hopkinsville in southern Kentucky, said the time is right to cash in on hemp because the plant already is legal for research in Kentucky, and Congress has legislation before to decriminalize hemp.
Industrial hemp is used in alternative automobile fuels and in such products as paper, cloths, cosmetics and carpet. Currently, all hemp included in products sold in the United States must be imported.
Pendleton’s bill would require people wanting to grow or process industrial hemp be licensed by the state Department of Agriculture.
The legislation would require criminal history checks of growers, and sheriffs would have to monitor and randomly test industrial hemp fields.
Federal law prohibits American farmers from growing hemp. The illegal drug marijuana is created from hemp, and, under federal law, parts of the plant are considered controlled substances. Proponents have argued industrial hemp contains too little of the mind-altering chemical THC to make people high.