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2018 Farm Bill May Fully Legalize Industrial Hemp

The Senate Agricultural Committee unveiled its version of the 2018 Farm Bill last Friday, which includes a push to fully legalize industrial hemp, according to a Harvest Public Media report.

The Senate’s Farm Bill has so far this year been a bipartisan project spearheaded by committee chairman Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kansas) and ranking minority member Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Michigan) — but it was Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) who inserted the hemp legalization language, which was taken from legislation that McConnell proposed in April seeking to legalize and normalize the hemp industry.

“Securing the Hemp Farming Act as part of the 2018 Farm Bill has been a top priority of mine. … I look forward to continuing to work with my Senate colleagues on this and many other issues important to Kentucky agriculture as we move towards consideration of the Farm Bill.” — Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, via The Hill

The bill would remove hemp from the Controlled Substances Act entirely and allow the plant to be traded as an agricultural commodity.

The Senate’s Farm Bill still needs to make it out of committee, survive a floor vote, and then be reconciled with the House’s version of the bill — which was already killed once this session by Republican lawmakers in an immigration dispute.

Sen. McConnell said he hopes for a Senate floor vote before July 4; the 2017 Farm Bill expires on September 30.

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