Joao Marcelo Marques

Lawmakers Reach Farm Bill Deal, Hemp Legalization Incoming

Lawmakers in federal Farm Bill negotiations said Thursday they have reached an “agreement in principle” that would break a months-long standoff over commodity policy and food stamps disagreements, Bloomberg reports.

The bill’s hemp language, which was inserted by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky), is reportedly intact after Sen. McConnell personally followed up with the Farm Bill conference committee to ensure it was included. The hemp provisions will reclassify the plant as an agricultural commodity, removing it from the list of federally controlled substances and allowing farmers to pursue crop insurance for their industrial hemp.

The Farm Bill negotiations were not at all related to the hemp provisions it contained but rather to a request by President Trump that lawmakers include provisions expanding work requirements for people who receive federal food stamps. Supporters have nonetheless waited impatiently for news that the $867 billion spending bill would pass without having its hemp legalization language stripped away.

House Agriculture Chairman Mike Conaway of Texas (R) said the compromise leaned more towards the Senate version of the bill.

“”The certainty that the farm bill brings to the table for the next five years is the win. … Everything we had in the House bill was important but we made the compromises we needed to make to get this deal done.” — Rep. Mike Conaway (R-Texas), via Bloomberg

The bill requires a few more minor details to be hashed out. It will be made publicly available sometime next week before full floor votes in the House and Senate, after which the bill will go to the president’s desk for his signature.

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