Massie says his hemp bill picked up 2 more sponsors after Comer's visit to D.C.

05/14/2013 12:15 PM

U.S. Rep. Thomas Massie praised Agriculture Commissioner James Comer for his trip to D.C. last week, which he said may have gone a long way toward getting passed federal legislation to allow the growing of industrial hemp.

“Because of his visit I picked up two more cosponsors on my bill that would legalize industrial hemp,” said Massie, who represents Kentucky’s 4th congressional district in Northern Kentucky. “We are trying a two pronged approach to provide jobs for farmers in Kentucky and new opportunities.”

The two-pronged approach Massie is referring to is a legislative approach with his bill in the House, which with the addition of the two cosponsors Massie discussed brings the total to 39, as well as a bill in the Senate sponsored by U.S. Senator Rand Paul.

The other side of the approach is asking the Obama administration to grant the state a waiver to grow the crop in Kentucky. The bill that was passed through the state legislature sets up the framework to grow the crop but it is still illegal at the federal level.

“Commissioner Comer is working both angles here in D.C. I prefer the legislative approach. If I am going to invest in a new idea I want to make sure that it is legal by law and not just some executive order,” Massie said.

Massie, along with most of Kentucky’s federal delegation, has been supportive of Comer’s efforts since the legislation was pushed in the state legislature and said he was “wonderful” to work with in Washington. Massie said he will continue to push to pass legislation legalizing the crop.

“When people get done giggling you used the word hemp and they associate it with marijuana, when they realize you cant get high off of hemp, when they realize that every country grows it except the United States and we have to import it and that this is a jobs bill and not a drugs bill we can get cosponsors and this bill is picking up momentum in the House,” Massie explained.

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