Trump officially legalizes industrial hemp

President TrumpDonald John TrumpOklahoma City Thunder players kneel during anthem despite threat from GOP state lawmaker Microsoft moving forward with talks to buy TikTok after conversation with Trump Controversial Trump nominee placed in senior role after nomination hearing canceled MORE legalized the cultivation of industrial hemp Thursday when he signed a widespread, bipartisan farm bill aimed at boosting the agriculture industry. 

The fiber of hemp, a non-intoxicating derivative of the cannabis plant, is used to make a variety of products, such as cardboard, carpets, clothes, paper and more. 

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Hemp production and sales have historically been illegal under the same federal prohibition against marijuana. The farm bill only deals with industrial hemp and does not address recreational or medical marijuana.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellGOP scrambles to fend off Kobach in Kansas primary Meadows: Election will be held on November third Don't let Trump distract us from the real threat of his presidency MORE (R-Ky.) worked with Sens. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulMultiple lawmakers self-quarantine after exposure to Gohmert Gohmert tests positive for COVID-19 Republican senators revolt over coronavirus proposal MORE (R-Ky.), Jeff MerkleyJeffrey (Jeff) Alan MerkleyPortland protesters clash with law enforcement for first time since federal presence diminished New York police confirm arrest of protester in unmarked van Overnight Defense: Guardsman to testify Lafayette Square clearing was 'unprovoked escalation' | Dems push for controversial Pentagon nominee to withdraw | Watchdog says Pentagon not considering climate change risks to contractors MORE (D-Ore.) and Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenFrustration builds as negotiators struggle to reach COVID-19 deal On The Money: Unemployment benefits to expire as coronavirus talks deadlock | Meadows, Pelosi trade criticism on stalled stimulus talks | Coronavirus recession hits Social Security, Medicare, highway funding Unemployment benefits to expire as coronavirus talks deadlock MORE (D-Ore.) to introduce a bill to legalize hemp, which was ultimately included in the farm bill. 

"I used my very own hemp pen to sign the conference report, clearing the way for the House and Senate to pass legislation and send it to the president's desk. I'm proud that the bill includes my provision to legalize the production of industrial hemp. It's a victory for farmers and consumers throughout our country," McConnell said when the Senate advanced the farm bill earlier this month. 

The farm bill helps removes obstacles farmers face in growing hemp, including restricted access to banking, water rights and crop insurance. Hemp is easier to grow than cotton, corn or soybeans as it requires little water and can be viable in lower-quality soil that is not practical for other crops. 

The hemp provision is just one of several aspects of the farm bill meant to aid farmers as exports of agricultural products such as soybeans take a hit as Trump engages in a bitter trade war with China and other countries.