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Senate Majority Leader Introduces Bi-Partisan Hemp Legalization Bill

Senate Majority Leader Introduces Bi-Partisan Hemp Legalization Bill

As expected, U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has introduced legislation that would remove hemp from the list of controlled substances and legalize it as an agricultural commodity.

The Hemp Farming Act would do away with this legal confusion by officially removing hemp from the Controlled Substances Act. McConnell's bill places federal regulatory authority of hemp with USDA, requiring state departments of agriculture to file their hemp program plans with USDA, and allows them to regulate hemp cultivation per state specific programs, noted Vote Hemp president Eric Steenstra. This reclassification of hemp would make it fully legal for banks to open accounts or provide financing for hemp farmers, which is now prohibited under federal law.

Merkley said the legislation would block "frustrating restrictions on hemp farming in the United States".

This formal legislation is a major milestone in the evolution of hemp as a food product, and for its future economic impact across the country, especially in Kentucky.

"During the recent state work period, I talked to a number of farmers, manufacturers, and small business owners who expressed enthusiasm for hemp's potential, and I was proud to stand with Kentucky's Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles to announce the impending introduction of this bill", Senator McConnell said. McConnell helped legalize hemp cultivation for research purposes through the Agricultural Act of 2014. "Time and again, they (Kentucky farmers) shared with me their enthusiasm for hemp's potential to re-energize agricultural communities and provide a new spark to the US economy", said Leader McConnell, "This bill will help make that potential a reality". Ron Wyden, D-Ore., and Sen.

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To date, thirty-four states have defined industrial hemp as distinct and removed barriers to its production.

The hemp act builds upon the past successful bipartisan efforts by the three senators.

About three-quarters of US states have enacted such laws, but there remain barriers.

Kentucky lawmakers have been active in their leadership of hemp legislation. "If we're selling hemp products in the United States, we should be growing hemp in the United States - it's good for jobs, good for our communities, and it's just common sense", said Senator Merkley.

Congressman James Comer (R-KY) is set to introduce a similar bill to the House of Representatives.


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