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McConnell says he's 'honored' to be WholeFoods Magazine's 2019 'Person of the Year'

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellThe Memo: The GOP's war is already over — Trump won Biden: GOP in the midst of a 'mini-revolution' Ernst defends Cheney, calls for GOP unity MORE (R-Ky.) said on Wednesday that he was “honored” to be named this year’s “Person of the Year” by WholeFoods Magazine.

“I was recognized as the most influential person in the natural products industry, specifically because of my work to legalize industrial #hemp for farmers in Kentucky and around the country,” McConnell tweeted.

WholeFoods has been publishing since 1984. According to its site, it’s the “longest-tenured media outlet of its kind in the natural products industry.”

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It is not affiliated with the Whole Foods Market Inc., the popular multinational supermarket, which has sent a number of tweets reiterating that point in response to outrage over the decision.

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On a page announcing the monthly national trade magazine’s decision to name McConnell “Natural Products Person of the Year,” editor-in-chief Maggie Jaqua said “the end of ‘hemp prohibition’ has been a boon for many in the industry.” 

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“CBD is the buzzword of 2019 — in part because of work McConnell started years ago. His first big move on hemp came in 2014, when he spearheaded a provision to legalize hemp pilot programs in the Farm Bill,” Jaqua wrote. 

“In the years that followed, research demonstrated the potential of hemp as an agricultural commodity, and McConnell made another big move: In 2018, he introduced The Hemp Farming Act of 2018 to legalize hemp as an agricultural commodity and remove it from the list of controlled substances,” she continued.

In an article explaining the process of how McConnell was chosen for the recognition, Jaqua wrote that her team “didn’t come to agree on this selection without a bit of debate.”

“We considered the fact that Senator McConnell certainly has his detractors — as a politician, he’s polarizing,” she wrote. “And we carefully considered other nominations put forth by WholeFoods readers — there are many people who have supported the industry in 2019 and would be far less controversial than any politician could ever be.”

“And while I could fill this page with the names of industry giants who are worthy of awards, the distinction of WholeFoods Magazine Person of the Year isn’t an award,” she added. “It’s a recognition of the person (or group of people) who — for better or for worse or a mix of both — made the most substantial impact on this industry over the past year. And that, we feel, is Senator McConnell.” 

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WholeFoods has been publishing since 1984. According to its site, it’s the “longest-tenured media outlet of its kind in the natural products industry.”

It is not affiliated with the Whole Foods Market Inc., the popular multinational supermarket, which sent multiple tweets reiterating that point in response to outrage over the decision.

—Updated at 8:14 p.m.