After weeks of back-and-forth, with the bill being considered dead, then alive, then dead, and back alive again, Kentucky’s House of Representatives has officially approved Senate Bill 50, to legalize industrial hemp in the state. The vote showed overwhelming support for the measure, with the final tally being 88 to 4. Earlier this month the state’s Senate approved the measure 31 to 6.
Now, the measure moves to the desk of Governor Steve Beshear, who will decide whether or not to sign the bill into law.
This measure would open up a diverse and expansive new market for Kentuckians: According to recent congressional research, we import over $400,000,000 worth of hemp from other countries. The same congressional research states that the hemp market may consist of over 25,000 various products.
Senate Bill 50 is supported by both of the state’s U.S. Senators, Rand Paul and Mitch McConnel. The two are co-sponsoring legislation which would end our federal prohibition on industrial hemp, instantly allowing states that legalize or have legalized hemp to begin production.
Senator Rand Paul said that if the measure passes in Kentucky, he’ll work with the state to get a federal waiver to allow farmers to cultivate industrial hemp.