Local Agriculturalists React to Hemp Legalization Bill

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has announced plans to legalize hemp as an agricultural product through the Hemp Farm Act of 2018.

“Anything we can do to help our farmers and our consumers,” Mike Bullock, Agriculture Specialist at Southcentral Kentucky Community and Technical College says, “I want Kentucky to be the leading state in this.”

McConnell says the legislation would remove hemp from the list of controlled substances, legalize it as an agricultural commodity nationwide, remove barriers that have stifled the industry, and create federal grants for research.

“In the past, we’ve had good year’s crop wise,” Farmer Corbin Wilson tells WNKY in 2017—they’re pilot year growing hemp at Elkins Farm—“but market wise is not very good.”

“Right now, dairy farmers are having some struggles and tobacco farmers, some have lost their contracts,” Bullock says, “I’m not saying that hemp is going to be the solution, but it’s going to open up the door for a lot more opportunities.”

Through the 2014 Farm Bill, hemp was made legal for research and experimental use nationwide, but under the federal law, hemp is still illegal.

McConnell says during his announcement of Hemp Farm Act of 2018 in Kentucky, “There’s been a lot of discussion about what is this? Is this the same as the illicit cousin? I think we’ve moved past that.”

Bullock names a few of the uses of hemp as seeds, super foods, fiber, hemp creek to help build houses, among many other medicinal uses, and more still being researched today.

“Anything else we can do to help improve our economy is great,” Bullock says.

McConnell is set to introduce to legislation to the senate on Monday, April 2nd.