Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Legalize It: Will We See a Hemp Farm Bill?

Posted By on Wed, Aug 28, 2013 at 5:00 AM

As stupid as it is that marijuana is illegal — and that's pretty damn stupid — it's even stupider that hemp is illegal. Did we make Sterno illegal just because people drank it? No. So why make hemp illegal just because people will smoke it?

Well, as the hippies say, the times, they are a changing. According to the Associated Press, State Senator Frank Niceley and State Representative Andy Holt are putting forth legislation to make hemp cultivation semi-legal:

Nicely said Kentucky and six other states have passed measures legalizing hemp even though federal law prohibits it. Nicely said there also is support for changing federal laws, notably from Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and Sen. Rand Paul, both from Kentucky.

"The utilization of hemp to produce everything from clothing to paper is real, and if there is a capacity to center a new domestic industry in Kentucky that will create jobs in these difficult economic times, that sounds like a good thing to me," McConnell said in a statement earlier this year.

Sens. Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker of Tennessee did not take a position on the issue, but said it should be discussed.

Yeah, I know, it's moving to see the heroic stand Alexander and Corker are taking here. If I were Nicely or Holt, I start a rumor right now that the Tea Party supports hemp legalization and I bet we'd see Alexander working to get a federal-level bill passed as quickly as possible.

Anyway, this is one of those things that's going to happen sooner or later. People aren't very excited about marijuana prohibition anymore and, as it becomes more legal, its more boring sibling will be swept along. And I'm glad to see Nicely and Holt pushing it.

But we live in a state that can't get it together enough to legalize wine in grocery stores, so I have my doubts about whether we're going to see the legalization of hemp cultivation in Tennessee at a state level before we see it at a Federal level.

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