The Kentucky House of Representatives has passed a bill that creates an administrative framework for industrial hemp production in Kentucky. The bill passed by an overwhelming 88-4 majority. The Senate concurred in a House floor amendment, 35-1.
Agriculture Commissioner James Comer said, “By passing this bill, the General Assembly has signaled that Kentucky is serious about restoring industrial hemp production to the Commonwealth and doing it in the right way. That will give Kentucky’s congressional delegation more leverage when they seek a federal waiver allowing Kentucky farmers to grow hemp.”
Proponents of the bill cite its potential to help Kentucky’s farmers and bring thousands of jobs to the state, should the federal government lift the ban on the crop.
Bulletin Bag [.com] is very excited about this development. We believe that hemp is the ideal material for reusable bags for many reasons. Not only is hemp several times stronger than cotton, but it is also less bulky and doesn’t wrinkle as easily–while at the same time, it’s more compact and easier to store in a small pouch. Unlike many synthetic bag options, hemp fabric is machine washable (a major issue for safety/cleanliness of reusable bags) and it provides a wonderful canvas for custom printing. In addition, it can also be grow without pesticides, making it an ideal fabric for this eco friendly industry.
Unfortunately, hemp has been given a bad rap since it comes from the same plant species as marijuana. What most people don’t realize is that industrial hemp contains only trace amounts of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), the psychoactive component of marijuana. In fact, industrial hemp was widely grown in the US until about 1958, when it became controversial.
In recent years, senators from both sides of the aisle, including Ron Wyden (D-Oregon) and Rand Paul (R-Kentucky), have proposed legislation to again allow farmers to grow industrial hemp in the US.
“The federal prohibition on growing industrial hemp has forced companies to needlessly import raw materials from other countries,” said Senator Ron Wyden (D-Oregon) “My amendment to the Farm Bill will change federal policy to allow U.S. farmers to produce hemp for these safe and legitimate products right here, helping both producers and suppliers to grow and improve Oregon’s economy in the process.” (You can learn more about Wyden’s compelling argument for industrial hemp here: http://youtu.be/rC3OoMc3V3)
We are hoping that the bill that passed in Kentucky signals a first step toward a reusable bag that could be grown, harvested, milled and produced in the USA – which would be a dream come true for us!