McConnell's hemp amendment gets green light from Appropriations

 

The Senate Appropriations Committee on Thursday approved an amendment, co-sponsored by Sen. Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellThe Hill's Morning Report — Mueller aftermath: What will House Dems do now? Overnight Health Care: McConnell offering bill to raise tobacco-buying age to 21 | NC gov vetoes 'born alive' abortion bill | CMS backs off controversial abortion proposal HR 1 brings successful local, state reforms to the federal level and deserves passage MORE (R-Ky.), aimed at fostering research into industrial hemp, which is made from the marijuana plant.

The amendment, offered by Sen. Jeff MerkleyJeffrey (Jeff) Alan MerkleyOnly four Dem senators have endorsed 2020 candidates More than 30 Senate Dems ask Trump to reconsider Central American aid cuts Long-shot goal of nixing Electoral College picks up steam MORE (D-Ore.), was approved on a bipartisan 22-8 vote.

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It is aimed at blocking the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) from interfering with research that was set up in the five-year farm bill approved in January.

Committee ranking member Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) voted against the provision, saying blocking the DEA from raids on a controlled substance set a bad precedent. He was joined by liberal Sen. Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinFive takeaways from Mueller's report Only four Dem senators have endorsed 2020 candidates GOP senators divided on Trump trade pushback MORE (D-Calif.).

Sen. Jon TesterJonathan (Jon) Tester20 Dems demand no more money for ICE agents, Trump wall Overnight Energy: Bipartisan Senate group seeks more funding for carbon capture technology | Dems want documents on Interior pick's lobbying work | Officials push to produce more electric vehicle batteries in US Bipartisan senators want 'highest possible' funding for carbon capture technology MORE (D-Mont.) was among those who voted for the hemp language.

“This isn’t the stuff you smoke. It would take 80 pounds to get a buzz,” Tester said.

Chairwoman Barbara MikulskiBarbara Ann MikulskiOnly four Dem senators have endorsed 2020 candidates Raskin embraces role as constitutional scholar Bottom Line MORE (D-Md.) thanked him for his “expertise” before voting for the amendment.

The language is now part of a $51.2 billion bill funding the departments of Commerce and Justice, as well as the science and space agencies for fiscal 2015. That bill passed out of committee on a unanimous 30-0 vote.

The Commerce, Justice and Science bill is heading for full floor consideration as part of a package of spending bills, possibly as early as the week of June 16.

Next week, the committee is slated to approve a legislative branch bill and a Labor, and Health and Human Services bill funding ObamaCare. It already has approved Agriculture and Veterans Affairs bills.

The House on May 30 passed its own version of the bill on a bipartisan 321-87 vote. That bill contains some controversial gun riders that the Senate is likely to oppose.

It also contains the same hemp language that was approved in the Senate Appropriations Committee on Thursday.