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More GOP support for hemp legalization

More GOP support for hemp legalization
© Greg Nash

Legislation that would effectively legalize industrial hemp is growing in popularity with Senate Republicans.

Hemp should not be lumped together with marijuana on a federal list of banned drugs, Sen. Cory GardnerCory Scott GardnerDemocrats must end mob rule GOP senators praise Haley as 'powerful' and 'unafraid' Democrats won’t let Kavanaugh debate die MORE (R-Colo.) said Thursday.

“Industrial hemp is a safe substance with many practical commercial applications,” Gardner said. “Removing it from the Controlled Substances Act is a commonsense move, which would create jobs and get the government out of the way of farmers and our agricultural industry.”

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Hemp is grown from the same plant as marijuana, but is believed to be less potent. It is popular with farmers in other countries where it is not banned and can be used to produce paper, plastic, rope, fuel and even organic foods.

Gardner announced Thursday he will co-sponsor the Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2015, which would exclude hemp from the Drug Enforcement Administration’s list of banned drugs.

The Industrial Hemp Farming Act is already backed by top Republicans like Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellJuan Williams: Trump’s policies on race are more important than his rhetoric It’s Mitch McConnell’s Washington – and we’re just living in it Trump makes new overtures to Democrats MORE (Ky.) and Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulNoisy democracy, or rude people behaving like children? Lawmakers, Wall Street shrug off Trump's escalating Fed attacks Five things to watch for in deteriorating US-Saudi relations MORE (Ky.), as well as Sens. Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenCollusion judgment looms for key Senate panel Hillicon Valley: Facebook deletes accounts for political 'spam' | Leaked research shows Google's struggles with online free speech | Trump's praise for North Korea complicates cyber deterrence | Senators want Google memo on privacy bug On The Money: Jobless rate hits 49-year low | Officials face legal obstacles to pursuing tax charges against Trump | Tax story prompts calls to revise estate rules MORE (D-Ore.) and Jeff MerkleyJeffrey (Jeff) Alan MerkleyEPA chief calls racist Facebook post he liked ‘absolutely offensive’ Dem senators urge Pompeo to reverse visa policy on diplomats' same-sex partners Overnight Defense — Presented by The Embassy of the United Arab Emirates — Missing journalist strains US-Saudi ties | Senators push Trump to open investigation | Trump speaks with Saudi officials | New questions over support for Saudi coalition in Yemen MORE (D-Ore.).

“Hemp has the potential to be a major boon to Colorado agriculture, giving farmers another viable and profitable option for their fields,” Gardner said.