An amendment to the Senate Farm Bill that recently passed out of the Ag Committee contains an amendment that would remove hemp from the federal definition of marijuana.
The amendment, sponsored by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, would free up hemp farmers to receive federal crop insurance under the 2018 farm bill.
“I think it’s time we took this step,” McConnell told the Senate Ag Committee on Wednesday. “I think everybody has now figured out that this is clearly not the other plant (marijuana).”
McConnell says people in his home state who grew up with tobacco are hoping this will turn into a viable crop. “As we all know, hemp is very diversified,” McConnell says. “It can end up in your car dashboard, it can end up in your food, it can also end up in pharmaceuticals. It’s time to figure out and see where the market will take us.”
Not all the Ag Committee members supported the change, including Iowa Senator Charles Grassley. While the bill may be modified during Senate floor debate, hemp industry experts aren’t expecting much change because of good bipartisan support.