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Sen. Mitch McConnell eyes legalizing hemp as agricultural commodity

29 March 2018

McConnell who announced he plans to introduce a bill next month to legalize hemp as an agricultural commodity.

The family connection sidelined hemp production for decades. In 2014, McConnell also supported the Farm Bill, which authorized state agriculture departments to create and commercialize industrial hemp research programs in partnership with universities.

"It's now time to take the final step and make this a legal crop", McConnell said in Frankfort, according to an Associated Press report.

Despite the DEA's stance on CBD oil, numerous states have made a decision to allow hemp farmers to extract it from their crops, including Kentucky.

The Kentucky Agriculture Department (KDA) is now conducting a pilot program to grow hemp, which was mandated and funded through the 2014 farm bill.

Production of hemp has soared since states have started to legalize cannabis, and its set to become a billion dollar industry.

Thirty other states have hemp pilot projects.

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Over 30 states since then have launched pilot programs to grow hemp with some sort of research component, though the state laws vary in strictness because of conflicting interpretations of the federal farm bill. Hemp and marijuana are the same species, but hemp has a negligible amount of THC, the psychoactive compound that gives marijuana users a high. And yet it's useful in a number of products, including textiles, food, and oils. The bill also would allow hemp researchers to apply for competitive federal grants from USDA.

"We're going to give it everything we've got to pull it off", he said. "But I think most everybody ... now understands this is a totally different plant".

The top republican in the US Senate, a Kentucky native, wants to take the stigma away from hemp. The DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration) did not agree with this definition and has consistently pointed out that both plants come from the same genus and are therefore they are same plant and so subject to the Controlled Substances Act.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell introduced a bill on Monday to legalize industrial hemp as an agricultural product.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture would have to approve of states' implementation plans, but once that happened, states would be the primary regulators of hemp.

Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles, whose great-grandfather grew hemp for rope to support the war effort in the 1940s, said he hopes hemp's legalization can "open the floodgates and we can see the true potential of this crop".

Sen. Mitch McConnell eyes legalizing hemp as agricultural commodity