Federal legislation that would legalize industrial hemp across the United States has rapidly advanced to the Senate floor.
Filed by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R), the proposed law (the Hemp Farming Act of 2018) would remove hemp from the federal controlled substances list, effectively legalizing its cultivation and production. In no small part due to the bill being filed by the Senate majority leader, it has been fast-tracked past the committee process and directly to the Senate floor. This is possible through the usage of a procedural move known as Rule 14. Although the move doesn’t guarantee the measure will receive a Senate vote, it makes it incredibly likely.
“By legalizing hemp and empowering states to conduct their own oversight plans, we can give the hemp industry the tools necessary to create jobs and new opportunities for farmers and manufacturers around the county,” McConnel said in a statement announcing the bill’s filing. The measure is cosponsored by Senators Ron Wyden (D), Rand Paul (R) and Jeff Merkley (D).
In addition to legalizing hemp federally, the bill allows states to determine their own hemp laws and hemp regulations. Those wanting to research hemp would be able to receive a license from the Agriculture Department.