So, let’s see if we’ve got this straight.
Industrial hemp could provide Kentuckians with a new cash crop that provides a valuable resource and is good for the environment. Its legalization is supported by leaders in both parties, as well as agriculture and business interests alike. Kentucky, once a world leader in hemp production, could regain that title and in the process jumpstart a new manufacturing economy based on hemp products.
And so it should continue to remain banned, simply because it resembles something else? That is what a collection of law enforcement agencies announced this week.
Saying that it is simply just too difficult to differentiate between industrial hemp and marijuana, officials with Operation UNITE, Kentucky State Police and a number of other agencies have come down against legalization.
That, simply, is foolish.
Why should Kentuckians be asked to forsake potentially billions in revenue, simply because of appearance? Under that logic, we should also ban powdered sugar, since it looks a little bit like cocaine. It should also be a felony to put oregano in plastic bags.
The law enforcement folks coming out against legalizing hemp say there is no proven market for hemp products. That’s probably largely due to the fact that the crop is currently illegal. Hard for there to be a market for something if nobody is allowed to grow it. And since nobody is growing it illegally, that should be a pretty strong indication that it poses zero drug potential.
While the state legislature is currently considering bills to legalize hemp, the plant is still illegal under federal law. However, it would be nice to see our state ahead of the curve, for once, and ready to implement a hemp strategy, in the event Congress does ultimately allow it, which it is currently considering. If Kentucky takes a pass and Congress does legalize hemp, our state will lose out, once again, as the hemp industry is born elsewhere.
— The Floyd County Times