Earlier this week, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced he intends to introduce a bill in the Senate that would legalize hemp as an agricultural commodity.
McConnell’s bill, known as the Hemp Farming Act of 2018, aims to remove the crop from the uncontrolled substance list, resulting in legalization of the crop as an agricultural commodity. Hemp once thrived in McConnell’s home state of Kentucky, but the crop was included in the Controlled Substance Act of 1970, which regulated its production and distribution. The crop’s fiber was utilized for rope, clothing and mulch, and its seeds were utilized for hemp milk and cooking oil. Hemp was also used to produce soaps, lotions, building materials, animal bedding, and biofuels.
The cannabis species hemp, not to be confused with its cousin marijuana, contains a minuscule amount of THC which is the psychoactive component that makes marijuana users high. “I think we’ve worked our way through the education process of making sure everybody understands this is really a different plant,” the Republican leader said.
“The goal of this new bill, should it become law, is to simply remove the roadblocks altogether,” McConnell said. “It would encourage innovation and development and support to domestic production of hemp.”
As of 2017, there are 38 states that allow hemp to be grown for commercial or research programs.