Monday, February 18, 2013

Jessamine Democrats Supports Hemp

On the courthouse lawn in Nicholasville, the historic marker "Jessamine County Hemp" noted that our county was one of the chief producing counties in Kentucky. In fact, "it was one of the three Bluegrass counties which together produced more than one-half of hemp grown in the entire country."

The Jessamine County Democratic Executive Committee supports the legislation currently before the General Assembly to license the growth of hemp in the Commonwealth. Jessamine County farmers need a new, profitable crop to ensure the livelihood that has sustained her citizens for generations. Hemp is that crop.

According to Agriculture Commissioner James Comer, "industry leaders in automotive manufacturing, cosmetics, energy, processing and certified seed are all interested in Kentucky-grown industrial hemp." Other Republican leaders have echoed their support, including Senators Rand Paul and Mitch McConnell who are leading an effort in Washington to re-characterize hemp under federal drug law.

Kentucky's sole Democrat in Washington, Rep. John Yarmuth, also supports Senate Bill 50. The legislation would "establish conditions and procedures for the licensing of industrial hemp growers." Last week, the bill overwhelmingly passed the Republican-controlled state Senate with the support of Sen. Tom Buford of Nicholasville.

Now the Jessamine County Democrats call upon one of our own, Rep. Robert Damron, to support this important legislation. Jessamine County Democrats call upon Governor Steve Beshear to use his position to ensure that Kentucky is in the driver's seat as this new agrarian crop is reintroduced to American farms. Jessamine County and Kentucky cannot afford to be left behind ... again.