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 McConnellOn The Money: Trump asks court to block release of tax returns to Congress | Private sector adds 330K jobs in July, well short of expectations Senate panel advances first three spending bills McConnell lays out GOP demands for government-funding deal 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 WydenThe job of shielding journalists is not finished Up next in the culture wars: Adding women to the draft Democrats warn shrinking Biden's spending plan could backfire MORE (D-Ore.), Jeff MerkleyJeff MerkleyDemocrats barrel toward August voting rights deadline Human rights can't be a sacrificial lamb for climate action Senate Democrats press administration on human rights abuses in Philippines MORE (D-Ore.) and Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulKaine says he has votes to pass Iraq War repeal in Senate Overnight Defense: Senate panel votes to scrap Iraq war authorizations | Police officer fatally stabbed outside Pentagon ID'd | Biden admin approves first Taiwan arms sale Senate panel votes to repeal Iraq war authorizations 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 TrumpMajority of Americans in new poll say it would be bad for the country if Trump ran in 2024 ,800 bottle of whiskey given to Pompeo by Japan is missing Liz Cheney says her father is 'deeply troubled' about the state of the Republican Party MORE's signature.