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 GardnerSessions floats federal law that would protect states that decriminalize marijuana RNC mum on whether it will support Trump-backed Corey Stewart Overnight Health Care — Sponsored by PCMA — Dems see midterm advantage in new ObamaCare fight 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.”

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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 McConnellCongress had a good couple of weeks — now let's keep it going McCarthy: 'The Mueller investigation has got to stop' McConnell: Mueller 'ought to wrap it up' MORE (Ky.) and Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulRand Paul's neighbor sentenced to 30 days in prison over assault Dems best GOP as Scalise returns for annual charity baseball game The Hill's Morning Report — Can the economy help Republicans buck political history in 2018? MORE (Ky.), as well as Sens. Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenDems seek to seize on data privacy as midterm issue Hillicon Valley: DHS gets new cyber chief | White House warns lawmakers not to block ZTE deal | White nationalists find home on Google Plus | Comcast outbids Disney for Fox | Anticipation builds for report on FBI Clinton probe Senate confirms Trump Homeland Security cyber pick MORE (D-Ore.) and Jeff MerkleyJeffrey (Jeff) Alan MerkleyMerkley leads Dem lawmakers to border amid migrant policy outcry DHS secretary defends Trump administration's migrant policies Trump faces Father’s Day pleas to end separations of migrant families 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.