Politics
3:45 pm
Wed November 14, 2012

Hemp Commission Will Craft New Bill; Comer Confident It Will Pass in 2013

State Agriculture Commission James Comer -- a leading advocate for industrial hemp in 

James Comer, Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner
Credit File photo

Kentucky -- said growing support will help their initiative in the next legislative session.

The Industrial Hemp Commission, for which Comer is chairman, held its first meeting in a decade on Wednesday.

The commission will work for the next few weeks on crafting -- and the commission will then lobby Kentucky lawmakers to pass it. Comer, who has helped lobby for previous industrial hemp bills, said the commission's proposals will differ from past bills.

“I think you’ll see something brand new that will be very definite because I’m pretty confident this is going to pass on the federal level in Congress," Comer said.

"We need to act immediately in Kentucky so we can be one of the first states, if not the first state to be able to implement this."

Comer says Kentucky is racing Oregon, Minnesota and North Dakota to prepare for a possible re-classification of the plant from illicit drug status by the federal government.

And with the support of two Kentucky congressmen, Republicans Andy Barr and Thomas Massie -- plus U.S. Senator Rand Paul -- Comer said he thinks supporters of hemp will have victory in Kentucky soon.

“This is something that is a big agriculture topic with tea party groups and liberty groups as well as groups like the community farm alliance and the Sierra Club that are more liberal leaning organizations," Comer said. "They both agree on this, so I’m confident this is going to happen."

Comer said he thinks even more elected officials in Kentucky will join the cause to support hemp as an agriculture product soon.