FRANKFORT, Ky. (3/7/13) – At the request of House Speaker Greg Stumbo, Attorney General Jack Conway has issued an opinion on whether Senate Bill 50, the industrial hemp legislation sponsored by Sen. Paul Hornback and supported by Agriculture Commissioner James Comer, is necessary for farmers to grow hemp if the federal government acts to legalize the crop. In his opinion, Conway acknowledges that if the federal government legalized hemp today, Kentucky hemp could be grown totally unregulated.
“If Speaker Stumbo truly shares law enforcement’s concerns, he will pass SB 50 right now,” Comer said. “Without it, achieving a waiver from the federal government to be the first state to grow hemp will be almost impossible because there will be no safeguards in place. Other states have already passed similar programs. If we don’t act now, Speaker Stumbo will kill our chances to be first for these jobs.”
Conway’s opinion also acknowledged that the Kentucky Industrial Hemp Commission honored its statutory obligation by developing SB 50 and took no position on the merits of the bill.
In related news this morning, Speaker Stumbo appeared on the Mandy Connell Radio Show on 84WHAS. Speaker Stumbo argued that SB 50 is a revenue bill because it provides for a licensing administrative fee and should therefore start in the House. Ms. Connell then confronted Stumbo with SB 227, which Stumbo voted for in 2010. SB 227, which started in the Senate, contained similar language that allowed a commission to charge an administrative fee and even included that the fee could be up to $1,000. In response, Speaker Stumbo told Ms. Connell that she could simply hire a lawyer and take her case to court.
“Our phones were ringing off the hook after this interview,” Comer said. “The people are furious with the game-playing. We just want a fair vote on the hemp bill. Let’s get together, pass this bill, and create jobs for Kentucky.”
Comer said he has formally requested a meeting with House Majority Floor Leader Rocky Adkins.
Information provided by Ted Sloan
Photo provided by SurfKY Graphics
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