FRANKFORT, Ky. (2/27/13) – Sen. Paul Hornback’s legislation supported by Agriculture Commissioner James Comer that sets up an administrative framework for industrial hemp production moves to the House Agriculture and Small Business Committee tomorrow. Senate Bill 50 is expected to be heard beginning at 8 a.m. EST in Room 129 at the Capitol Annex.
Today, Commissioner Comer announced that John Roulac, the founder and CEO of Nutiva, the fastest-growing hemp foods company in the country, is scheduled to fly in to testify in support of SB 50. Nutiva did $44 million in sales last year alone, and Roulac is expected to testify on the economic opportunities hemp presents.
“Yet again, we will offer overwhelming evidence that industrial hemp presents opportunities for our farmers and potential new industries for Kentucky,” Comer said. “John Roulac has seen enormous success in the hemp business, and I hope this private-sector achievement will speak loudly to House Ag Committee members still on the fence.”
Commissioner Comer is again expected to testify on SB 50, this time alongside Senator Hornback and Democrat Senator Robin Webb. Michael Lewis, a small-scale farmer and military veteran who is a spokesman for the Jobs for Vets and Homegrown by Heroes programs, will also be on hand to offer testimony in support of the bill.
House Ag Committee Chairman Tom McKee has said he plans to offer a committee substitute that would convert SB 50 into a university study. Hornback and Comer have voiced opposition to any committee substitute that does not advance private-sector involvement in the hemp industry.
“SB 50 sets us up to be the first state in the country to get a statewide waiver to produce hemp,” Comer said. “Any effort to kick the can down the road or place an unfunded mandate on another government agency will be rejected by the people — and, I hope, by the members of the House Agriculture Committee as well.”
Information provided by Ted Sloan
Photo by Bogdan
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