By Ken Selvaggi
WAVE 3 Vice President and General Manager
Kentucky led the nation in the 1800s in hemp production. Doing that again and would gain some needed revenue to deal with pension fund liabilities and the need for enhanced education funding.
There are two obstacles in the way at the moment.
First, the federal government must allow it by taking hemp off the controlled substances ban list. That seems like a no brainer. America leads the world in consumption of hemp products. Why not produce it here, rather than buy nearly all of it from Canada like we do now. We are the only major industrialized nation that bans growing hemp. It's time to get over that prohibition.
Second, Kentucky lawmakers must join a growing number of state lawmakers who have removed barriers to hemp research and production in the event the federal government does give the green light.
The Commonwealth's been blessed with land conducive to growing this crop. It would make perfect sense to pass legislation to allow production of it again.
Kentucky State Police are concerned that since hemp plants look similar to marijuana plants, they would have a tougher time with enforcement of marijuana growing laws. That's a challenge they could certainly overcome.
Kentucky leaders cannot continue to cut expenses beyond the bone and expect the Commonwealth to grow. They should be the ones leading the charge to adding this new revenue stream into the arsenal for Kentuckians and the nation.
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