Senate passes legislation to legalize hemp as agricultural commodity

Senate passes legislation to legalize hemp as agricultural commodity
© Greg Nash

The Senate passed legislation on Thursday that would legalize hemp as an agricultural commodity.

The bill, a key priority of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellDoug Jones walks tightrope on Supreme Court nominee Kavanaugh gets questionnaires for confirmation hearing Dem infighting erupts over Supreme Court pick MORE (R-Ky.), was included in a mammoth farm bill that cleared the Senate 86-11.

"I have heard from many Kentucky farmers who agree it’s time to remove the federal hurdles and give our state the opportunity to seize its full potential and once again become the national leader for hemp production. That is why I strongly advocated for this measure to be included in the Farm Bill," McConnell said in a statement after the farm bill passed the Senate.

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He added that "for far too long, the federal government has prevented most farmers from growing hemp."

McConnell, as well as Sens. Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenDems launch pressure campaign over migrant families Senators urge DOJ to probe whether Russians posed as Islamic extremist hackers to harass US military families Dems say new emails show Cohen ‘selling access’ to White House MORE (D-Ore.), Jeff MerkleyJeffrey (Jeff) Alan MerkleyHillicon Valley: Hacker tried to sell military docs on dark web | Facebook fined over Cambridge Analytica | US closer to lifting ZTE ban | Trump, Obama lose followers in Twitter purge | DOJ weighs appeal on AT&T merger Demanding accountability from private companies detaining children FCC proposes overhaul to comment filing system MORE (D-Ore.) and Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulRand Paul ‘concerned’ about Kavanaugh Rand Paul on Russia indictments: We should focus on protecting elections instead of 'witch hunt on the president' Sunday shows preview: Trump readies for meeting with Putin MORE (R-Ky.), introduced their hemp legislation as a stand-alone bill in April, before getting it included in the Senate's farm bill.

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

It would also 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.

The Senate's farm bill still needs to be merged with a competing version from the House before it can be sent to the White House for President TrumpDonald John TrumpSasse: Trump shouldn't dignify Putin with Helsinki summit Top LGBT group projects message onto Presidential Palace in Helsinki ahead of Trump-Putin summit Hillary Clinton to Trump ahead of Putin summit: 'Do you know which team you play for?' MORE's signature.