Senate passes legislation to legalize hemp as agricultural commodity

Senate passes legislation to legalize hemp as agricultural commodity
© Greg Nash

The Senate passed legislation on Thursday that would legalize hemp as an agricultural commodity.

The bill, a key priority of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellDems ready aggressive response to Trump emergency order, as GOP splinters Green New Deal Resolution invites big picture governing ‘Contingency’ spending in 3B budget deal comes under fire MORE (R-Ky.), was included in a mammoth farm bill that cleared the Senate 86-11.

"I have heard from many Kentucky farmers who agree it’s time to remove the federal hurdles and give our state the opportunity to seize its full potential and once again become the national leader for hemp production. That is why I strongly advocated for this measure to be included in the Farm Bill," McConnell said in a statement after the farm bill passed the Senate.

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He added that "for far too long, the federal government has prevented most farmers from growing hemp."

McConnell, as well as Sens. Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenHigh stakes as Trump, Dems open drug price talks Dem lawmaker: 'Trump's presidency is the real national emergency' Dems introduce bill to take gender-specific terms out of tax code to make it LGBT-inclusive MORE (D-Ore.), Jeff MerkleyJeffrey (Jeff) Alan MerkleyThe border deal: What made it in, what got left out Lawmakers introduce bill to fund government, prevent shutdown Dems wary of killing off filibuster MORE (D-Ore.) and Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulCongress must step up to protect Medicare home health care Business, conservative groups slam Trump’s national emergency declaration The Hill's 12:30 Report — Presented by Kidney Care Partners — Trump escalates border fight with emergency declaration MORE (R-Ky.), introduced their hemp legislation as a stand-alone bill in April, before getting it included in the Senate's farm bill.

The bill would legalize hemp, removing it from the federal list of controlled substances and allowing it to be sold as an agricultural commodity.

It would also allow states to regulate hemp, as well as allow hemp researchers to apply for grants from the Agriculture Department and make hemp farmers eligible for crop insurance, according to McConnell's office.

The Senate's farm bill still needs to be merged with a competing version from the House before it can be sent to the White House for President TrumpDonald John TrumpGillibrand backs federal classification of third gender: report Former Carter pollster, Bannon ally Patrick Caddell dies at 68 Heather Nauert withdraws her name from consideration for UN Ambassador job MORE's signature.