A veto of hemp bill could put Democrats in political peril, Sen. Webb says

04/03/2013 08:41 PM

Democratic legislative candidates could be put at risk in the next election if the leader of the party, Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear, vetoes the industrial hemp bill, Democratic state Sen. Robin Webb of Grayson said.

“I think certainly it could” be used against Democrats, Webb said … “I fail to see the political strategy in the defeat of this bill.”

Webb has been pushing for Kentucky to lay the groundwork for industrial hemp since Democratic House members first pushed for the creation of the Kentucky Industrial Hemp Commission more than a decade ago.

Republican Agriculture Commissioner James Comer revived the commission last fall and led the charge for Senate Bill 50, which was sponsored by Republican Sen. Paul Hornback of Shelbyville. The bill establishes licensing and monitoring procedures for farmers to grow hemp if the federal government legalizes the crop or issues a waiver to allow Kentucky farmers to grow it.

Proponents of the hemp bill have described it as a potential job-creator because of new hemp-related industries that could pop up around the crop to convert its fibers into textiles, fuel or plastics.

Beshear has until Saturday to decide whether to veto the legislation, which was passed March 26 — the final day of the 2013 legislative session.

Watch the 2:37 interview segment with Webb:


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