I don’t think I have to tell pot smoking political professionals and journalists in the big metros why Daylin Leach’s marijuana legalization bill is a good idea, but I do think folks in rural areas where the bill is likely to be least popular should take a minute to think through what this could mean for them.
Here are some examples from Janet Patton in Kentucky of the kind of businesses who are interested in buying hemp:
Hemp doubters, including prominent Kentucky politicians and law enforcement, scoff at the idea that the market for the crop could mean much to Kentucky farmers. But they have not been answering the phones at the Kentucky Department of Agriculture, where Commissioner James Comer gets two or three calls a week.
“Industry leaders in automotive manufacturing, cosmetics, energy, processing and certified seed are all interested in Kentucky-grown industrial hemp,” Comer told the Senate Agriculture Committee hearing Feb. 11.
U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, who testified in favor of Senate Bill 50 while wearing a shirt made of hemp, also alluded to Kentucky’s automotive industry at the hearing, prompting a state senator to press Comer about Toyota’s potential interest.
I don’t want to exaggerate the benefits, but clearly if PA were to legalize marijuana both for recreational use and for hemp production, the value of farmland in the T would get bid up as demand for agricultural land increased. People have been seeing their land values increasing in the Marcellus Shale areas, but with legal marijuana you’d have gas drillers and pot companies competing for some of the same land.