The Kentucky Senate Agricultural Committee unanimously passed proposed legislation opening the way for the culitvation of 'Industrial Hemp'. A number of high profile politicians such as John Yarmuth, Rand Paul, Thomas Massie and Jamie Comer supported the move. And while agricultural profits from hemp were the stated goal there might be another benefit.
According to a Congressional Research report the cultivation of 'Industrial Hemp' could put a significant dent in the marijuana crop. Hemp and marijuana are both Cannabis Sativa, but marijuana is different in that it has a higher concentration of THC, the chemical which causes the euphoric and hallucinogenic effects of consuming it. Marijuana growers try to carefully control the pollination of marijuana plants so as to increase the amount of THC in the leaves and flowers.
But 'Industrial Hemp' is not so controlled and in fact spreads its pollen far and wide by wind, insects and birds. One of the effects of allowing the growth of 'Industrial Hemp' might be the destruction of many marijuana crops by the open pollination with the hemp plants.
While some law enforcement agencies have worried that permitting hemp cultivation might allow marijuana growers to hide the drug producing plants in fields of hemp, it seems that this would be highly unlikely. Hemp would pollinate and destroy the marijuana.
Furthermore, there is a very thin market for hemp products in the United States and per acre profit projections in various studies, including one from Kentucky, put the net-profit potential for hemp at no higher than $800 per acre meaning that for hemp to be profitable it would have to be grown and harvested on a large scale, thus increasing the volume of wind borne pollen and further negatively impacting marijuana crops.
So when you hear TEA party backed folks pushing the hemp initiative don't think that they are working to help the marijuana growers. Hemp could help destroy the marijuana crop, and I'm sure that's what they wanted, right?