Kentucky Lieutenant Governor Jerry Abramson “On Board” with Industrial Hemp

Lt. Governor Jerry Abramson

Kentucky Lieutenant Governor Jerry Abramson came to Berea College today and spoke to our entrepreneurship class. I took the opportunity to inform him about industrial hemp and why it should be immediately decriminalized (before hemp was criminalized in 1937, it was the number 2 crop grown in Kentucky behind Tobacco, and Kentucky grew more hemp than any other state).

When I first asked the question I was hounded by just about everyone in the room for being “that California kid who just knows a lot about dope.” I took the time to explain the difference between marijuana and industrial hemp, and how industrial hemp could immediately add thousands of sustainable jobs to the Kentucky economy overnight upon being decriminalized.

Abramson had never heard of the hemp issue before, but said he was “on board” and would bring it up to people at the State Capitol in Frankfort. He agreed that, at the very least, advocacy about hemp could be made. I added that if Kentucky wanted to go a step further, the state could essentially nullify the federal legal definition of hemp (which lumps marijuana and hemp together as “Cannabis,” when they are in fact separate species within the same family) as Oregon has already done in the past several years.

I told Abramson that this is what he will hear when he brings up hemp to his advisers in Frankfort: “Hemp is related to marijuana, and if it is legalized marijuana growers can and will hide their marijuana plants in hemp fields.” Of course, this reasoning is absolutely bogus because when hemp and marijuana cross-pollinate, as they do naturally, marijuana’s THC level (the chemical that gets you high) decreases.

That’s right, the potency of marijuana decreases if it is surrounded by hemp. Only boneheaded marijuana growers would even consider growing marijuana near hemp, because the quality of their pot would quickly go down the tubes. In fact, the single most effective action the government could take to weaken marijuana would be to immediately rescind anti-hemp laws and allow the growth of industrial hemp.

Click here to learn more about the criminalization history of hemp.

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3 Responses to “Kentucky Lieutenant Governor Jerry Abramson “On Board” with Industrial Hemp”

  1. republic says:

    Just a point of clarity, or confusion: for quite some time, scientists have argued whether there are different species or sub-species of Cannabis Sativa L. Whether there are one, two, or three species in the Cannabis genus (or sub-species in the Cannabis species), it is clear that they can produce fertile offspring. The Wikipedia article on Cannabis provides more detail than I can here.

    Within each species there is great genetic diversity and through a careful breeding program, particular traits and chemotypes can be selected from any breeding stock of Cannabis. E.g., hemp like offspring can be selected from drug strains over several generations and vice versa. Although is possible to look for particular expressed genes which control the production of Cannabinoids from their chemical precursors, it is not viable to test a hemp field in this manner. Rather like other industrial countries which have legal hemp production, a maximum THC content limit may be tested and enforced at lower expense.

    You are right that the introduction of hemp can reduce the genetic qualities of nearby drug strains. However, to the illicit cultivator there is a much more pressing concern with the introduction of stray hemp pollen, namely that it will fertilize female drug plants and reduce the quantity and quality of the processed flowering tops which can be harvested. Once a female Cannabis plant is fertilized it reduces the energy spent on the creation of more and bigger bud structures and the conversion of precursors into Cannabinoids and instead expends energy on seed formation. Bud that has been seeded commands less on the market than sensemilla. This effect is immediate and doesn’t depend on one or several generations to affect the quality and potency of drug strains illicitly cultivated.

    I thank you for bringing the issue of hemp to the Lt. Governor. Hopefully, the economic and environmental benefits of hemp will prove persuasive over the misguided fears of the racist drug war. I look forward to the day when legal Cannabis is once again a top crop in Kentucky and across the country.

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    • Thanks for expanding on this, I appreciate you taking the time to explain the pollination/fertilization process in more detail. I, too, hope Kentucky starts to take action on hemp and helps push the issue into the limelight. We’ll continue doing our best to make it happen!

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