Hemp Bill Becomes Law Without Governor's Signature

Senate Bill 50, the industrial hemp bill, will become law without the signature of Governor Steve Beshear who released the following statement Friday afternoon:

“I strongly support efforts to create additional legal cash crops for our farm communities.  At the same time, we have a tremendous drug problem in Kentucky, and I want to make sure that we don’t do anything that will increase that drug problem.  I still share the same concerns our law enforcement officers have about the impact hemp cultivation may have on our drug eradication efforts. 

The bottom line is that Senate Bill 50 won’t allow industrial hemp to be grown or sold unless and until the federal government takes the very big step of legalizing the crop in some way. If that happens, we will have time to work with the legislature and law enforcement to make any further changes necessary to ensure the public’s safety and alleviate those concerns.

Therefore, I am allowing SB50 to become law without my signature.” – Gov. Steve Beshear

Senate Bill 50 passed the Kentucky House 88-4 and the Senate 35-1 and reads as follows:

AN ACT relating to industrial hemp. 
Create new sections of KRS Chapter 260 to define "Commissioner," "department," "grower," "industrial hemp," and "tetrahydrocannabinol"; establish conditions and procedures for the licensing of industrial hemp growers by the Department of Agriculture; require the department to coordinate a criminal history check with the assistance of law enforcement agencies; establish a license duration period; require the department to set the cost of the license by administrative regulation; require the department to forward a copy of an industrial hemp grower license to law enforcement agencies; specify stipulations for growers having an industrial hemp grower license; clarify that the Act does not authorize a person to violate federal law; require periodic reports to the Kentucky Industrial Hemp Commission; establish circumstances under which a license may be withdrawn; amend KRS 218A.010 to conform; amend KRS 260.853 to clarify the scope of industrial hemp research; amend KRS 260.857 to allow for additional members of the Industrial Hemp Commission and designate the commissioner as the commission chair; amend KRS 260.859 to conform.

It passed with the following amendment:

Delete original provisions and insert the following provisions relating to the Kentucky Industrial Hemp Commission, the industrial hemp research program, and the licensure of industrial hemp growers for both research and commercial purposes; amend KRS 260.850 to define terms; create a new section of KRS 260.850 to 260.869 to declare the purpose of the Act and provide that the purpose shall be accomplished through the commission, the research program, and the licensure of industrial hemp growers; amend KRS 260.851 to require the commission to promulgate administrative regulations to administer the research program; amend KRS 260.853 to establish the research program to consist of demonstration plots overseen by the University of Kentucky Agricultural Experiment Station and other research partners, and to establish the responsibilities of the commission; amend KRS 260.857 to attach the commission to the University of Kentucky Agricultural Experiment Station and to clarify membership, adding regional university representation and others; amend KRS 260.859 to name the Commissioner of the Department of Agriculture vice chair of the commission, and allow for the commission to elect its chair; amend KRS 260.861 to clarify what entities provide administrative and other services to the commission; amend KRS 260.863 to require reporting on industrial hemp issues; amend KRS 260.865 to provide that no provision of this Act shall allow any person to violate any federal law; amend KRS 260.869 to clarify the uses of the industrial hemp program fund and to allow the commission to administer the fund; create a new section of KRS 260.850 to 260.869 to establish conditions and procedures for issuing industrial hemp grower licenses, allow license fees to be set by administrative regulation, and stipulate monitoring requirements; create a new section of KRS 260.850 to 260.869 to set out operational procedures for licensed growers, and set out standards for transporting industrial hemp off the premises of a licensed grower; create a new section of KRS 260.850 to 260.869 to establish procedures for license revocations in certain circumstances; create a new section of KRS 260.850 to 260.869 to allow licensed growers to apply for tobacco settlement funds; amend KRS 218A.010 to conform; amend KRS 154.32-010 to clarify that processing industrial hemp qualifies as "agribusiness" under the Kentucky Business Investment incentive program; direct the Cabinet for Economic Development to work with the commission to promote the development of industrial hemp production and commercialization in the Commonwealth.

Earlier Friday at The River City News: Gatewood Galbraith is Smiling Over Hemp Bill

Photo: via hemp.com