Senate fast-tracks bill legalizing hemp as agriculture product
© Greg Nash

Legislation that would legalize hemp as an agricultural product is getting fast-tracked through the Senate. 

The bill, introduced last week by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellGOP senator: Democratic opposition to Pompeo 'driven 100 percent by politics' Pompeo lacks votes for positive vote on panel GOP poised to advance rules change to speed up Trump nominees MORE (R-Ky.), was placed on the Senate calendar on Monday. 

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The procedural move, known as Rule 14, allows it to skip over the committee process, paving the way for the legislation to be brought up on the Senate floor. The move doesn't automatically guarantee that the bill will get a vote. 

A spokesman for McConnell noted on Monday that they didn't have guidance or an announcement about if, or when, the bill would come up. 

The bill, known as the Hemp Farming Act of 2018, would legalize hemp, removing it from the federal list of controlled substances and allowing it to be sold as an agricultural commodity. 

"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," McConnell said in a statement last week introducing the bill. 

In addition to McConnell, Sens. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulGOP senator: Democratic opposition to Pompeo 'driven 100 percent by politics' Pompeo lacks votes for positive vote on panel CIA declassifies memo on nominee's handling of interrogation tapes MORE (R-Ky.), Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenTrump struggles to get new IRS team in place CIA declassifies memo on nominee's handling of interrogation tapes Dem senators demand Trump explain ties to Koch brothers MORE (D-Ore.) and Jeff MerkleyJeffrey (Jeff) Alan MerkleyOvernight Energy: Senate confirms Bridenstine as NASA chief | Watchdog probes Pruitt’s use of security detail | Emails shine light on EPA science policy changes 32 male senators back Senate women's calls to change harassment rules Duckworth brings her baby to Senate vote, drawing a crowd MORE (D-Ore.) are supporting the legislation

The bill would allow states to regulate hemp, as well as allow hemp researchers to apply for grants from the Agriculture Department and make hemp farmers eligible for crop insurance, according to McConnell's office. 

McConnell indicated late last month that he planned to introduce the bill. 

WDRB noted that Kentucky is currently conducting a pilot program through the Agriculture Department to grow hemp, while a team at the University of Louisville is harvesting the crop to study its use as a biofuel and energy source.