U.S. Sen. Paul wants to team up with Gov. Beshear to get feds' OK to grow hemp

03/28/2013 04:34 PM

Kentucky Republican U.S. Sen. Rand Paul said this week he wants to work with Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear to convince the Obama administration to grant a federal waiver to grow hemp.

And he told Kentucky reporters this week that he’s also gearing up to block the Senate from passing gun control legislation and addressed the persistent question about whether he’ll run for president in 2016.

Paul spoke at the University of Kentucky on Wednesday for an event sponsored by the Gatton College of Business.

After the General Assembly passed Senate Bill 50 — the bill to set up a framework to grow industrial hemp in Kentucky — Paul said he’s ready to help Kentucky take the next step. Paul has been supportive of the state’s efforts and has his own measure in the U.S. Senate to legalize the crop nationally.

Currently, federal law prohibits states from growing industrial hemp. But Kentucky could seek a waiver to start growing it.

“If the Governor signs it, the first thing I am going to do is see if the Governor will co-sign a letter with me to the President to see if Kentucky can have an exemption,” Paul said.

Paul has recently been vocal on the issue of gun control legislation saying he’s willing to once again try to stop his fellow lawmakers from letting legislation move forward by using the filibuster. Paul held up the nomination of CIA Director John Brennan earlier this month with a 13-hour filibuster in which he talked about the U.S. policy of using unmanned drones on American citizens.

Sens. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and Mike Lee, R-Utah, joined Paul in sending a letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid saying they intend to oppose any legislation that would infringe on the American people’s constitutional right to bear arms.

“Kentucky and most of the states that we represent are overwhelmingly in favor of the second amendment, we don’t want to see a limitation on that,” Paul said to reporters (in video below).

Paul was again asked whether he intends to run for president in 2016. He answered the reporter with his standard answer: he wants to be part of the national discussion. But he also explained his upcoming trip to be the keynote speaker at this year’s Iowa statewide Lincoln Day Dinner on May 10.

Watch what he says:

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