Sen. McConnell Endorses Hemp

Jan 31, 2013

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Kentucky’s most influential Republican, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, is throwing his weight behind the movement to legalize hemp production in the state.

In a statement released Thursday, McConnell says extensive conversations with Senator Rand Paul and state Agriculture Commissioner James Comer, two Kentucky Republicans who support hemp, helped convince him to endorse the movement.

“Senator McConnell, I believe, was just overwhelmed by the economic potential for this crop,” says Comer Chief of Staff Holly Harris.

Harris says McConnell’s support can only help backers of Senate Bill 50, the legislation currently before the state senate, that would allow industrial hemp production in the Bluegrass if the federal government lifts a decades-old ban on the crop.

“We believe that will sail through the Agricultural Committee, we believe it will pass the senate, we believe the state house cannot now ignore this legislation, and we believe there will be movement at the federal level,” Harris says.

While some critics fear legalization could compromise marijuana eradication efforts, McConnell says Comer has assured him the move would not in any way promote illegal drug use.