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 McConnellPelosi: 'Thug' Putin not welcome in Congress GOP to White House: End summit mystery Sunk judicial pick spills over into Supreme Court fight 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 PaulThe Hill's Morning Report — Trump and Congress at odds over Russia GOP leader blocks resolution backing intelligence community on Russia Rand Paul blocks Sanders's Russia resolution, calls it 'crazy hatred' against Trump MORE (R-Ky.), Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenSunk judicial pick spills over into Supreme Court fight House passes measure blocking IRS from revoking churches' tax-exempt status over political activity Senators introduce bipartisan bill to improve IRS MORE (D-Ore.) and Jeff MerkleyJeffrey (Jeff) Alan MerkleySunk judicial pick spills over into Supreme Court fight Controversial Trump judicial nominee withdraws Anti-Trump protesters hold candlelight vigil by White House 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.