TheTimesTribune.com, Corbin, KY

Editorials

February 4, 2013

Smoke and mirrors

CORBIN — Frankfort seems suddenly enveloped in a haze. It’s not a purple haze but it’s close.

Hemp is all the rage and those for it and those against it are raging.

For a person of my age and generation there’s something funny here but I haven’t quite cut through all the smoke to figure out exactly what it is. But the folks once known as the law and order bunch are fighting the Kentucky State Police and others over whether to legalize industrial hemp.

Why, on Monday, Republican Agriculture Commissioner James Comer, who rails against environmental regulations, was trying to sell a reporter on the advisability of legalizing hemp “because it’s so green.” The same fella who ran for office a couple of years ago traveling Kentucky on a “coal and corn tour,” raging against President Barack Obama for declaring a “war on coal,” now says hemp is “sustainable” and a valuable bio-fuel.

It’s enough to make one’s head spin, even one who came of age during the flower child era.

Take a deep breath. Mitch McConnell now favors legalizing hemp. But perhaps we shouldn’t be all that surprised.

McConnell’s hero is Henry Clay, the Great Compromiser and the man who made the job of Speaker of the House a powerful and important position. Clay grew a whole lot of hemp in his day. He was also father of the American System which proposed federal subsidies for roads, canals and other “internal improvements” to develop agricultural markets. It sounds now sort of like a stimulus plan, but McConnell would rather you didn’t notice.

(The current Republican Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives is a notorious smoker but not hemp or marijuana. Ask Michelle Obama.)

The tea party in Kentucky favors legalization of hemp, another reason we shouldn’t be surprised McConnell suddenly sees the light. Tea, not hemp or marijuana, is now McConnell’s favorite herbal leaf. Those who long saw McConnell as an establishment Republican appropriator have of late been wondering what he’s been smoking.

McConnell probably hopes we’re all suffering short-term memory loss.

Kentucky is a red state, but maybe it’s becoming a purple state. Given our apparent collective distaste for Obama it’s clearly not because of our political sentiments. But proponents of an even more liberal approach to cannabis have long claimed Kentucky’s real leading cash crop is marijuana.

Why couldn’t Gatewood Galbraith have taken better care of himself and managed to live to see all of this and regale us with his wit and commentary? Galbraith said he smoked marijuana to treat his asthma and he was an early supporter of legalizing hemp.

(It reminds me of one of the impish Galbraith’s best campaign lines: “Thirty years ago, they said: ‘Gatewood, you’re 30 years ahead of your time.’ Well . . . here we are.”)

Bill Clinton is the most popular national Democrat in Kentucky but he insists he never inhaled, which doesn’t sound like it was really worth the trouble or risk or all that much fun either. Clinton reportedly favors cigars.

Maybe Democratic state Sen. Perry Clark of Louisville, who won re-election despite publicly admitting to “smoking a little weed” and is sponsoring a bill to legalize marijuana for medical uses, can join forces with Comer.

Then hemp or marijuana might take their places alongside of Kentucky’s other “signature” industries like coal, Bourbon, horse racing, basketball and tobacco.

That would further prove just how wrong Obama is about us. You see, we cling to a lot more than our guns and religion. We really love quick fixes — and our vices, too.

Ronnie Ellis writes for CNHI News Service and is based in Frankfort, Ky. He may be contacted by email at rellis@cnhi.com. Follow CNHI News Service stories on Twitter at www.twitter.com/cnhifrankfort

1
Text Only
Editorials
  • LIKE IT OR NOT: MLB's All Star effort was a bust

    With the 85th edition of Major League Baseball’s All-Star game in the books, I have to say I feel like the whole thing was a complete bust.

    July 18, 2014

  • THE WAY IT IS: Some local teams can make a run

    Well folks, our Little League All-Star action is beginning to wind down, and I’ve been fortunate enough to see two of the Tri-County’s resp

    July 17, 2014

  • LIKE IT OR NOT: It's been a very busy summer

    While a lot of people would expect the local sports scene to slow down in the Tri-County in the summer time, that’s not usually the case for us here at the Times-Tribune.

    July 16, 2014

  • John Ross.jpg May we all cherish those few WWII vets who still live

    I watch this old BBC program pretty often called “Are You Being Served?” It’s mostly out of syndication — what shows remain can be seen most often through PBS.

    July 10, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0502 Bobbie Poynter So long, farewell, auf wiedersehen, adieu

    I never have been very good at saying goodbye — family, friends, co-workers, neighbors, community — for years you’ve had my back and in turn, I believe I’ve had yours.

    July 7, 2014 1 Photo

  • Ronnie Ellis.jpg ‘Uh hummm!’ It’s been an interesting week

    One column can’t cover everything from a busy week of political events, but here are some quick takeaways from last week.

    July 7, 2014 1 Photo

  • Brad Hall.jpg Let’s multiply our numbers like fleas do

    Last Saturday, my wife, Carmen, and I spent the day at the Kings Island theme park near Cincinnati, Ohio.

    July 7, 2014 1 Photo

  • John Burkhart.jpg Not an earthly trace

    Just married (1897) and in his late 20’s, my grandfather was determined to make a living on a hillside farm covered in wilderness; much as his father had done before him in 1846  when he arrived from Germany.

    July 7, 2014 1 Photo

  • Brad Hall.jpg Col. Mustard with the candlestick in Heaven

    One of my favorite movies is the murder mystery comedy “Clue,” which is based on the popular board game of the same name.

    June 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • John Burkhart.jpg Now or Never

    A story is told of an old widower who decided it was time to find a new wife. He chose to look for this new bride through the obituaries column; identifying new widows.

    June 30, 2014 1 Photo

Front page
Featured Ads
Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter
AP Video
Raw: Families Travel to Taiwan Plane Crash Site Arizona Execution Takes Almost Two Hours Gen. Odierno Discusses Ukraine, NATO at Forum Gaza Fighting Rages Amid Cease-Fire Efforts Mint Gives JFK Coin a Face-lift Creative Makeovers for Ugly Cellphone Towers Ariz. Inmate Dies 2 Hours After Execution Began Crash Kills Teen Pilot Seeking World Record LeBron James Sends Apology Treat to Neighbors Raw: Funeral for Man Who Died in NYPD Custody Migrants Back in Honduras After US Deports Israeli American Reservist Torn Over Return Raw: ISS Cargo Ship Launches in Kazakhstan Six Indicted in StubHub Hacking Scheme Former NTSB Official: FAA Ban 'prudent' EPA Gets Hip With Kardashian Tweet Bodies of MH17 Victims Arrive in the Netherlands Biden Decries Voting Restrictions in NAACP Talk Broncos Owner Steps Down Due to Alzheimer's US, UN Push Shuttle Diplomacy in Mideast
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide