Two Republican Candidates back Hemp Farming in Kentucky

Will Kentucky grow hemp again
Will Kentucky grow hemp again

There is ditch weed that still grows along the roads and crops of Kentucky’s fertile farmlands. It is a living memory to a time when America was in desperate need of it’s agricultural resources.  In 1943, after the trade routes from the Philippines had been compromised and our relationship with Japan took a turn for the worse, the US Department of Agriculture asked it’s farmers to once again grow Industrial Hemp. It was so important to the war effort that a film entitled Hemp for Victory! was produced and distributed to farmers by the US Government.

In 1942 patriotic farmers at the governments request planted 36,000 acres of seed hemp, an increase of several thousand percent. The goal for 1943 is 50,000 for seed hemp. Hemp for toe-line, hemp for tackle and gear, Hemp for countless navel uses both on ship and shore. Hemp for Victory! – Hemp for Victory, 1943. US Dept of Ag.

That was a bold statement. The Government’s stance at the time prior the war was that all Cannabis, whether it was Industrial Hemp or Marijuana ,was illegal to be grown in the US and here they were practically demanding that farmers grow hemp.

After the war was won hemp once again became illegal for farmers to grow and continues to be illegal under federal law.

Today, more than 50 years later, people and politicians are finally waking up out of the dark ignorance that had been so prevalent after the war.

And there is hope that Kentucky, one of the leaders in growing hemp for the war effort,  may once again shine as a beacon of American pride.

Kentucky Hemp could be just a few votes away if either of the Republican Candidates running  for agricultural commissioner have a say about it. James Comer and Rob Rothenburger have both come out in favor of legalizing industrial hemp for Kentucky farmers.

Please see the Associated press article below.

Hemp arises as issue in race for ag commissioner

By ROGER ALFORD — Associated Press

Posted: 4:05am on Apr 25, 2011; Modified: 9:51pm on Apr 25, 2011

FRANKFORT, Ky. — Two Republican candidates for agriculture commissioner have come out in favor of allowing Kentucky farmers to grow industrial hemp as an alternative crop.

James Comer, a state lawmaker from Tompkinsville, and Rob Rothenburger, a judge-executive from Shelbyville, haven’t shied away from the issue as they prepare for their first statewide televised debate on Monday.

Theirs is a stand that most Kentucky candidates consider politically radioactive because of fears that voters might somehow leap to the false conclusion that they’re also pro-marijuana.

Industrial hemp, a cousin to marijuana, is used to make textiles, paper, lotion, cosmetics and other products. Though it contains trace amounts of the mind-altering chemical tetrahydrocannabinol that makes marijuana intoxicating, it remains illegal in the U.S.

“One of the things I want to do as agriculture commissioner is explore alternative crops,” Comer said Monday. “I think that that’s a viable option if the federal government would provide Kentucky with a waiver and let a few farmers do a trial run on it.”

Rothenburger said he is aware of the concerns of law enforcement that wayward hemp producers could try to mingle illegal marijuana among legal hemp

“It may make their jobs a little tougher, should industrial hemp be allowed again,” Rothenburger said.

Kentucky has an ideal climate for hemp production and, during World War II, was a leading grower of the plant that produces strong fibers that was using in fabrics, ropes and other materials for the military.

Besides the Republicans, a crowded field of Democratic agriculture commissioner candidates also will debate on Kentucky Education Television at 8 p.m. EDT. They include Louisville real estate and marketing agent Bob Farmer, Lawrenceburg farmer Stewart Gritton, Richmond lawyer and former state Sen. John Farris Lackey, retired Glasgow businessman David Williams and Frankfort farmer and businessman B.D. Wilson.

Bill Goodman, moderator of Kentucky’s public television debates, said he also intends to ask the Democratic candidates their positions on industrial hemp.

The eventual Democratic and Republican nominees will square off in the fall general election to replace current Agriculture Commissioner Richie Farmer, who had served the maximum two terms in the office.

Farmer has signed on as running mate to Republican gubernatorial candidate David Williams.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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