More GOP support for hemp legalization

More GOP support for hemp legalization
© Greg Nash

Legislation that would effectively legalize industrial hemp is growing in popularity with Senate Republicans.

Hemp should not be lumped together with marijuana on a federal list of banned drugs, Sen. Cory GardnerCory Scott GardnerThe siren of Baton Rouge Senate confirms John Demers to head DOJ national security division Senate rejects bipartisan measure as immigration votes begin MORE (R-Colo.) said Thursday.

“Industrial hemp is a safe substance with many practical commercial applications,” Gardner said. “Removing it from the Controlled Substances Act is a commonsense move, which would create jobs and get the government out of the way of farmers and our agricultural industry.”

Hemp is grown from the same plant as marijuana, but is believed to be less potent. It is popular with farmers in other countries where it is not banned and can be used to produce paper, plastic, rope, fuel and even organic foods.

Gardner announced Thursday he will co-sponsor the Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2015, which would exclude hemp from the Drug Enforcement Administration’s list of banned drugs.

The Industrial Hemp Farming Act is already backed by top Republicans like Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellLawmakers feel pressure on guns Bipartisan group of House lawmakers urge action on Export-Import Bank nominees Curbelo Dem rival lashes out over immigration failure MORE (Ky.) and Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulDem wins Kentucky state House seat in district Trump won by 49 points GOP's tax reform bait-and-switch will widen inequality Pentagon budget euphoria could be short-lived MORE (Ky.), as well as Sens. Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenOvernight Health Care: Trump eases rules on insurance outside ObamaCare | HHS office on religious rights gets 300 complaints in a month | GOP chair eyes opioid bill vote by Memorial Day Trump eases rules on insurance sold outside of ObamaCare Grassley, Dems step up battle over judicial nominees MORE (D-Ore.) and Jeff MerkleyJeffrey (Jeff) Alan MerkleyGrassley, Dems step up battle over judicial nominees 2020 Dem contenders travel to key primary states Mulvaney remarks on Trump budget plan spark confusion MORE (D-Ore.).

“Hemp has the potential to be a major boon to Colorado agriculture, giving farmers another viable and profitable option for their fields,” Gardner said.