McConnell bill would legalize hemp as agricultural product

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellGOP lambasts Trump over performance in Helsinki Overnight Defense: Washington reeling from Trump, Putin press conference Feehery: The long game MORE (R-Ky.) announced a new bill on Monday that would legalize hemp as an agricultural product.

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, according to WKYT.

"Hemp has played a foundational role in Kentucky's agriculture heritage, and I believe that it can be an important part of our future," McConnell said in a statement.

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If approved, the act would allow states to control their own hemp regulations by removing federal restrictions. WKYT also reported it would give hemp researchers the ability to apply for grants through the Department of Agriculture.

McConnell announced the bill with Republican Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles. The bill is being co-sponsored by Sens. Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenSenate panel to vote Thursday on Trump's pick to lead IRS On The Money: US files complaints at WTO | House leaders get deal to boost biz investment | Mnuchin says US will consider Iran sanctions waivers | FCC deals blow to Sinclair-Tribune merger Senate GOP poised to break record on Trump's court picks MORE (D-Ore.) and Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulLewandowski: Trump-Putin meeting advances goal of world peace Rand Paul to travel to Russia after downplaying election meddling Implementation of a 'universal basic income' program would be a disaster MORE (R-Ky.)

Kentucky is currently conducting a pilot program through the Department of Agriculture to grow hemp, WDRB reported Monday.

A team at the University of Louisville began harvesting the crop on campus in 2016 to study its use as a biofuel and energy source.