Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell Supports Hemp Legalization Bill


The United States Senate top leader has announced he wants to bring hemp production back into the country and remove the plant from the controlled substance list. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he will soon file a bill to legalize industrial hemp and allocate federal money for its cultivation.

“It’s now time to take the final step and make this a legal crop,” McConnell said.

McConnell told hemp advocates in his home state of Kentucky he plans to introduce the bill next week. Kentucky has been at the forefront of hemp’s comeback, approving more than 12,000 acres of land to be set aside for hemp production.

“We all are so optimistic that industrial hemp can become sometime in the future what tobacco was in Kentucky’s past,” McConnell said.

The Senate Majority Leader has already successfully added hemp protection language to broader legislation, specifically the 2014 Farm Bill and annual spending packages, which shields state industrial hemp research programs from federal interference. This means the U.S. Department of Justice cannot spend federal money prosecuting these state-legal programs even though the plant is illegal at the federal level.

It has been federally illegal to grow hemp because it is related to cannabis. Hemp and cannabis are the same species, but hemp has such a low THC content it has no mind-altering effects. In addition, hemp has great versatility as an industrial commodity. It can be made into fibers, biofuels, oils, nutritional supplements and even building materials. Advocates have been fighting for years to have hemp legitimately recognized by the federal government.

McConnell has stated there are still some challenges between the federal government and hemp farmers/producers in Kentucky, but the new bipartisan legislation would remove all roadblocks by recognizing in federal law the difference between hemp and cannabis.

He plans to discuss the issue with U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, a longtime opponent of cannabis law reform.

In the spending bill President Trump signed last week, there were provisions protecting medical cannabis businesses in 46 states as well as language protecting state industrial hemp research programs.