NASHVILLE: The hemp root seems to be growing deeper into the South. State senator Frank Niceley (R) is currently in the process of drafting legislation that will allow TN to follow in the footsteps of KY by bringing hemp to Tennessee. Kentucky was the first state to re-legalize industrial hemp. Niceley will wait until KY moves forward to see how successful they are in the endeavor before introducing his bill in the next legislative season. Niceley says, “The first flag of the Revolution made by Betsy Ross was woven from the strongest fabric availible, hemp.”
State representative Andy Holt (R) is assisting Niceley in the journey to legalize hemp. Representative Holt tells us:
“Let me start off by saying that I am the farthest thing from a weed-smoking hippie. I am simply an advocate for strong & sound agricultural policy, and this is one issue that should be addressed so that Tennessee Farmers can begin participating in a new and potentially thriving market. There are innumerable products that can be derived from hemp and I am an advocate for bio-based product development where a balance of symbiotic benefit can be achieved by those in production agriculture and those buyers of products that can be effectively and economically produced with the use of industrial hemp fiber. It’s a win, win. We diversify the agricultural opportunities of the Southeastern United States and supply a locally derived product, or product substitute, to individual or industrial consumers.”
Niceley has a rich history of introducing bills that nullify federal laws, which he views unconstitutional. He introduced a bill to nullify the United Nations within the state of Tennessee. He has also introduced legislation to nullify the 17th amendment and restore the constitutional election process of US senators in Tennessee. He is a bit of a hero to local Tenth Amendment advocates.
If successful, Tennessee will still endure backlash from the feds. Hemp has been illegal to cultivate in America since the late 1930s. In Kentucky, US senators Rand Paul (R) and Mitch McConnel (R) have promised support from D.C.. However, Tennessee may not be so lucky in getting support from their two US Senators as they are consistently at odds with their constituents. In fact, US senator Bob Corker (R-TN) came out strongly against Niceley’s attempt to effectively nullify the 17th amendment in Tennessee because it would have meant a more difficult re-election process for the embattled senator. Many noted this was the first time Corker had ever gone out of his way to be involved in state politics, which drives home the issues of the 17th amendment for Niceley.
Supporters of Niceley and Holt have set up an “Industrial Hemp for TN” Facebook page for Tennesseans to stay interacted with the legislators’ progress. Niceley and Holt are expected to have an influx of grassroots support for their legislation.
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