U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell was successful on Friday in securing the Hemp Farming Act of 2018 in the Senate Farm Bill, which was released Friday.
“Securing the Hemp Farming Act as part of the 2018 Farm Bill has been a top priority of mine,” McConnell said in a press release, per Marijuana Moment.
“As a result of the hemp pilot program, which I secured in the 2014 Farm Bill, Kentucky’s farmers, processors, and manufacturers have begun to show the potential for this versatile crop. Today’s announcement will build upon that progress to help the Commonwealth enhance its standing at the forefront of hemp’s return to American agriculture.”
As a senior member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, McConnell 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 on June 13.
This announcement comes three days after McConnell moved a resolution through the Senate acknowledging hemp’s “economic potential” and “historical relevance” and designated June 4-10, “Hemp History Week.”
The Hemp Farming Act of 2018 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.
Senator Merkley (D-Oregon), who introduced the Hemp Farming Act with McConnell last month along with Senator Ron Wyden, said that industrial hemp has had a long and productive history in the country and it’s time that it be revived and brought back into the 21st Century.
“Outdated policies should not stand in the way of our American farmers growing a crop that is already used to make products sold all across the U.S.,” said Merkley.