Industrial hemp advocate says bill has the votes in the Ky. Senate and Stumbo will be key

01/24/2013 09:14 AM

A proposal to set up a framework for industrial hemp to be grown in Kentucky has more than the votes it needs to pass the Senate but faces an uncertain future in the Kentucky House, one advocate said.

James Hidgon, a member of the Kentucky Industrial Hemp Commission, said Democratic House Speaker Greg Stumbo, a former attorney general, will be the key to whether law enforcement agencies — which have expressed reservations about the proposal — tank the bill.

“Stumbo could make or break it — it would appear,” said Higdon, the son of Republican Sen. Jimmy Higdon of Lebanon and author of the book “Cornbread Mafia.”

“Obviously, there’s opposition from the law enforcement community — from the state police — and they seem to be putting a lot of pressure on leadership in both chambers regarding committee placement. So it remains to be seen what committees these bills end up in,” Higdon said (1:30).

For instance, Hornback chairs the Senate Agriculture Committee, and thus, would support sending the legislation to the Senate floor. But the Senate Judiciary Committee, chaired by freshman Republican Sen. Whitney Westerfield, a former prosecutor from Hopkinsville, might be more likely to side with law enforcement.

Higdon also talked about the regulations in H.B. 33 and S.B. 50. (2:00-3:00).

“There’s really not been any movement on their side about being comfortable with the controls,” Higdon said.

And Higdon reacted to U.S. Sen. Rand Paul’s comments that the federal government could give Kentucky a waiver.

The Kentucky Chamber of Commerce announced their support for industrial hemp legislation recently, and the Agriculture Commissioner’s Office staff said they expect more organizations to endorse the effort.

About Ryan Alessi

Ryan Alessi joined cn|2 in May 2010 as senior managing editor and host of Pure Politics. He has covered politics for more than 10 years, including 7 years as a reporter for the Lexington Herald-Leader. Follow Ryan on Twitter @cn2Alessi. Ryan can be reached at 502-792-1135 or


  • viewer wrote on January 24, 2013 09:43 AM :

    I think hemp is a win win for the state. I know law enforcement is way underfunded and needs more support. Make a deal with law enforcement what money they lose , they will get back. Deal will be done. Hemp production will destroy the pot fields within 5 miles. The public needs to look at this close. This will be a good thing for the state.

  • Hutch wrote on January 24, 2013 10:58 AM :

    Law enforcement wants pot so they can continue to get federal money to waste on additional staff and play toys to round up the illegal pot. The tea Party should expose the waste, fraud and abuse by law enforcement on their budgets. Hemp will destroy pot at no cost to the taxpayers.

  • viewer wrote on January 24, 2013 11:37 AM :

    Law enforcement needs new way to be funded and structured. There has been over 200,000 arrests for pills, and around 150 doctors and pharma people. Its out of control. I think we need better trained officers , and stop jailing people with mental illiness. Its a revolving door with no ending. When is the last time you saw a defense attorney come up with ideas how to help with this pill problem ??? Everyone is getting paid big pharma, judges, attorneys, prison employees, mafia, and politicians. But we cant seem to find money for mental health. Which I find mental in itself. Like all government agencies they do everything behind closed doors , and dont want public input until they need it. No comment. We cant comment on that. Like the rest they dont want to comment, because they dont want to be changed and exposed. Law enforcement needs more support but they also need to see their shortcomings. I dont have the answers. Just my thoughts….

  • viewer wrote on January 24, 2013 12:11 PM :

    If a company was fighting this war on drugs like the government is. They would be in court charged with running a massive pyramid scheme. The war is over, we lost. New plan , new direction, new day. It can be done with courage. Wake up America

  • Cat Balz wrote on January 24, 2013 02:37 PM :

    The same corporate interests which got hemp classified as a drug are still around and stronger than ever. They even have more lobbyists and the police are just making themselves look silly with their we can’t tell the difference concerns. There is just too much money in our War on Drugs for there to even be a cease fire, I’m afraid. Heck, America’s War on Terror has given Kentucky and every state their own Homeland Security offices where political hacks sit around drawing fat checks doing God knows what every day. Let us pray.

  • viewer wrote on January 24, 2013 04:08 PM :

    Law enforcement KSP, FBI, DEA , ATF and others isnt the problem. The problem is how its set up. The USA Attorneys, Commonwealth Attorneys, your local district attorneys are all involved in politics. They tell cops what to crack down on and what to let go. Cops are in the public 24/7. They know who does what , and how to stop it. But then a group from Washington DC says that they have other ideas of what is important. Tactical team they are called. Took them 15 years to tell big pharma , Ky had a problem with pills, and we cant wait anymore to say something. Not cops , but lawyers set back and watched this. Fact. Government and law enforcement has got to top heavy , with a few taking care of corp. America and their next job after retirement. Cant send in a virgin to a cat house , and expect to see how the service was…… As for homeland security. O my !! my honey. They got dogs, I mean dogs reading our emails, texts and listening into our phone calls. Some of these people you wouldnt wanting to look at your photo album, much less getting a check to protect this country. Its a joke without anyone asking what the hell. Most techs at homeland security couldnt get in as a local cop , but now they are telling the feds whats going on. We are in need of wisdom , and it needs to come soon. Wake up America. The joke is on us…..

  • viewer wrote on January 24, 2013 04:54 PM :

    And for all my Dem voters that brag on Obama. He added onto the Patroit Act that Bush started. Its like when you hear your friend in the other room getting it on, you know its wrong to listen, but you cant help yourself….. Same thing here. Gop and Dems sold us out, but there sheeps cant see.

  • Bruce Layne wrote on January 25, 2013 03:17 PM :

    There are simply no good reasons not to grow hemp in Kentucky, and plenty of good reasons to grow hemp. Of course, that was no less true when the federal government initially outlawed hemp.

    Hemp was outlawed based upon a nonsensical legal entanglement with marijuana. Looking back on the history of marijuana prohibition, it appears that marijuana was outlawed in a fit of “Reefer Madness” propaganda to justify outlawing hemp, in order to benefit Dupont’s emerging synthetic fiber market. Interestingly, the US Navy was unable to procure enough nylon rope, so we had the WWII Hemp For Victory program. As a 15 year old girl on a farm in eastern Kentucky, my mom grew hemp for the war effort. It was considered a patriotic thing to do.

    I wish Kentucky could pass a hemp law that didn’t wait for permission from the DEA, because it’s not coming. We should just nullify that stupid federal law and go back to raising hemp. We also shouldn’t saddle hemp farmers with permits, taxes & fees, and all manner of government regulation. Alas, the hemp bill is what it is, and it’s probably the best we can get through our lily liver legislature this year.

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