Georgia governor signs hemp farming bill

Courtesy: WALB News 10
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By: Ri'Shawn Bassette | WALB News 10
May 10, 2019

LAKE PARK, Ga. (WALB) -- Governor Brian Kemp is making his rounds through South Georgia, with his first stop Friday morning at the Corbett Country Corner in Lake Park, where he signed a bill legalizing hemp production.

One of the sponsors of House Bill 213 is State Representative John Corbett, from Lake Park.

The community gathered at the crack of dawn to see Governor Kemp, who spoke about putting money into mental health wellness in schools, giving raises to teachers, and more. But today’s focus was about one thing—implementing what he references an innovative solution.

“Move over sweet potato, here comes hemp," said Dee-Dee Hider, a hemp production advocate.

Hider works in Hemp Production across the country, and was one of many people that came out to see the governor sign the Georgia Hemp Farming Act.

“For Georgia to jump in with our climate, with as much land as we have, as much space as we have, and the experienced growers and farmers that we have— Georgia is going to kick some serious butts," said Hider.

A move many are excited about because of the opportunity for farmers to diversify their agriculture.

“We’re a huge farming community, so anything more that can bring farming to this area, we’re all excited about. These guys are great. These farmers work very hard. They put in— they put in a hundred percent every day," said Tracy Vickers, owner of Corbett Country Corner.

Governor Kemp spoke about coming back to show those farmers and the people of South Georgia he’s serious about the promises he made to strengthen rural Georgia on the campaign trail.

“Certainly signing the industrial hemp act is going to give out famers— help diversify our ag economy. I certainly appreciate Representative John Corbett’s leadership on that. So, it’s an exciting day down here," said Kemp.

He shared that he’s glad to be visiting Echols County again, and says he doesn’t plan for this to be his last stop.

“My goal is to go to all 159 counties as governor and we’re just getting started on that," said Kemp.

While he was there, to sign the Georgia Hemp Farming Bill, that didn’t stop the conversation from turning to a more controversial bill he recently signed— the Heartbeat Bill. A decision that made the crowd erupt in applause.

One of the speakers went as far as to personally thank the Governor for what he called his decision to put people before politics.

We spoke to one woman who shared that his involvement with the bill touched her heart, because she has family members with disabilities that she says she couldn’t imagine aborted.

“When you see someone like that, they just bring joy to your life. It doesn’t— nobody should have that right to decide," said Vickers.

This is just one of many stops for the governor in the coming days.

He has plans to speak at Valdosta State University for their commencement ceremony on Saturday.