WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell was successful in securing the Hemp Farming Act of 2018 in the Senate Farm Bill, which was released Friday.
McConnell, a senior member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, worked with Committee Chairman Pat Roberts, to ensure that his legislation to legalize industrial hemp was included in the farm policy bill. The Senate Agriculture Committee will officially consider the legislation June 13.
In April, Senator McConnell introduced the bipartisan measure with Senators Ron Wyden, Rand Paul, and Jeff Merkley, and it has garnered support from an additional 24 Senators. This development comes at an appropriate time as earlier this week the Senators cheered the passage of their bipartisan resolution designating June 4-10, “Hemp History Week.”
The Hemp Farming Act legalizes hemp as an agricultural commodity by removing it from the list of controlled substances. It also gives states the opportunity to become the primary regulators of hemp production, allows hemp researchers to apply for competitive federal grants from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and makes hemp farmers eligible to apply for crop insurance.
The Hemp Farming Act of 2018 builds upon the 2014 Farm Bill, which included a provision secured by Senator McConnell to legalize hemp pilot programs. Congressman James Comer is the leading voice on the issue in the House of Representatives.
The Senate Farm Bill must now be approved by the full committee. Following approval, it will go the Senate floor for consideration.