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 GardnerSenate GOP running out of options to stop Moore Republicans see rising Dem odds in Alabama Cybersecurity pros take first peek at once secretive process behind US hacking toolkit 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 McConnellAlabama election has GOP racing against the clock McConnell PAC demands Moore return its money Klobuchar taking over Franken's sexual assault bill MORE (Ky.) and Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulCongress must end American support for Saudi war in Yemen Black men get longer prison sentences than white men for same crimes: study Sarah Palin on sexual harassment: 'People know I'm probably packing' so they 'don't mess with me' MORE (Ky.), as well as Sens. Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenCongress faces growing health care crisis in Puerto Rico Photos of the Week: Nov. 13-17 Senate panel approves GOP tax plan MORE (D-Ore.) and Jeff MerkleyJeffrey (Jeff) Alan MerkleySenate Democrats introduce bill to block Trump's refugee ban Overnight Defense: Army secretary easily confirmed | Army denies changing mental health standards | US to trim peacekeeping funds | House passes bill to speed up approval of battlefield medicines Senate approves Trump's Army pick 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.