U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R) announced today that he will soon be introducing legislation in the United States Senate that would end the nation’s long-standing prohibition on hemp.
The Hemp Farming Act of 2018 would legalize hemp by removing it entirely from the federal controlled substances list. McConnell plans to officially introduce the measure next week, with Senator Rand Paul (R) and a bipartisan group of other lawmakers serving as cosponsors.
“Hemp has played a foundational role in Kentucky’s agricultural heritage, and I believe that it can be an important part of our future,” said Senator McConell.. “I am grateful to join our Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles in this effort. He and his predecessor, Jamie Comer, have been real champions for the research and development of industrial hemp in the Commonwealth.” McConnel notes that “The work of Commissioner Quarles here in Kentucky has become a nationwide example for the right way to cultivate hemp. I am proud to stand here with him today, because I believe that we are ready to take the next step and build upon the successes we’ve seen with Kentucky’s hemp pilot program.”
“Here in Kentucky, we have built the best Industrial Hemp Research Pilot Program in the country and have established a model for how other states can do the same with buy-in from growers, processors, and law enforcement,” said Commissioner Quarles, who joined McConnell at a press conference announcing the new bill. “I want to thank Leader McConnell for introducing this legislation which allows us to harness the economic viability of this crop and presents the best opportunity to put hemp on a path to commercialization.”
In order for the bill to become law, it will need to pass both the Senate and House of Representatives, and then be signed into law (or allowed to become law without a signature) by President Trump. Although this may be seen as a tall feat, the fact that it’s being introduced by the Senate majority leader, who’s a Republican, is a good sign and gives it solid initial footing.