November 09, 2023

Roundtable Family and Friends Win Major Statewide Elections on Tuesday

Tuesday, November 7th was a big election day across the country, and especially in Kentucky, it was a momentous one for the U.S. Hemp Roundtable and the hemp industry.

The Roundtable’s very own Ethics Counsel, Russell Coleman, won a landslide election to serve as Kentucky’s next Attorney General.  The former U.S. Attorney has advised the Roundtable since 2021, and led our internal ethical compliance efforts, ensuring that the organization and its members meet the highest industry standards. Thanks to Russell and his diligent efforts, we maintain confidence in the organization’s integrity and affiliations. And now the people of Kentucky have as their chief law enforcement officer someone who will hold himself and his department to the highest levels of integrity.

U.S. Hemp Roundtable Private Dinner with U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) during September 2022. [Pictured left to right: U.S. Hemp Roundtable General Counsel, Jonathan Milller; U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell; former U.S. Transportation Secretary, Elaine Chao; Partner-in-Charge of Frost Brown Todd’s Louisville office, Jennifer Barber; former U.S. Attorney a Kentucky Attorney General Elect, Russell Coleman; former Kentucky Secretary of State and Frost Brown Partner, Trey Grayson.]

Our sister organization, the U.S. Hemp Authority, will soon lose its Treasurer and founding Board Director, Jonathan Shell, who won an overwhelming election as Kentucky’s Agriculture Commissioner. The Commonwealth gains someone with first-hand experience growing hemp, meaning he understands personally the hardships that many farmers have had due to regulatory obstacles. His leadership and perspective will be extremely valuable when it comes to helping the Kentucky hemp industry navigate through the next four years. And he follows in some large footsteps, as his predecessors, now-Rep. James Comer and future community college President Ryan Quarles, emerged as national leaders in the hemp policy landscape.

Finally, Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear won a comfortable reelection race, which means the US Hemp Roundtable can look forward to continuing our close working relationship with him and his staff. As you may recall, Governor Beshear signed two executive orders last November, one to legalize medical cannabis and another to regulate the sale of hemp-derived delta-8 THC products. We were thrilled to see HB 544 pass this year as a result, which we believe should be a model for regulating delta-8 THC across all states. While the Kentucky Department of Public Health released a draft regulation with some minor concerns, Governor Beshear and his staff have been extremely attentive to our comments and have incorporated a significant amount of our feedback into subsequent revisions.

Governor Beshear with U.S. Hemp Roundtable Membership Coordinator, Kerry Hinkle.

U.S. Hemp Roundtable Public Affairs and Marketing Coordinator, Alyssa Erickson, with Governor Beshear.

Beshear is being mentioned as a possible Presidential or Vice-Presidential candidate, so we will be keeping an eye on whether he might be able to bring pro-hemp policies to the White House. (Incidentally, Beshear’s opponent, Attorney General Daniel Cameron, served as a counsel to the U.S. Hemp Roundtable and worked with us during the critical years of the 2018 Farm Bill legalization. At the age of 37, his political career seems far from over.)

Speaking of the recent regulations… our very own Director of Operations, Katelyn Wiard, will be testifying before the Administrative Regulation Review Subcommittee TODAY November 9th at 2:00 PM ET regarding the Kentucky Department of Public Health’s emergency regulations concerning intoxicating cannabinoids, such as delta-8 THC. We are very pleased at how the Administration has been so far responsive to our concerns, but there are a few remaining issues that Katelyn will address in her testimony. Click here or below to tune in or re-watch her testimony!