Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) said he is willing to fix hemp-related “glitches” in the Farm Bill approved by Congress last year, the Associated Press reports. The need for legislative action comes as legal hemp shipments are intercepted by police who can’t differentiate between a legal and illegal crop.
“Some glitches remain to be worked out, and some of it may require legislation … I’m prepared to do my job … all the way into the end zone if it requires additional legislation.” — McConnell to the AP.
Two truck drivers were jailed last February in Oklahoma and Idaho after being stopped by police. In Oklahoma, officials impounded more than 17,000 pounds of legal hemp even after the purchaser provided them with paperwork. In Idaho, law enforcement used a portable THC test and drug-sniffing dogs to levy drug trafficking charges.
U.S. Department of Agriculture Undersecretary Greg Ibach told the AP said the agency is willing to work with other federal agencies to help develop testing protocols. The USDA is responsible for developing and issuing the regulations and guidance for commercial hemp production in the U.S. In February, the agency anticipated to issue those rules “in the fall of 2019 to accommodate the 2020 planting season.”
Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles – from McConnell’s home state – said officials throughout the U.S. need to know “what hemp is and what hemp is not” so hemp shipments can move freely interstate. In Kentucky, about 1,000 farmers will grow hemp in the state this year. Last year, Kentucky’s hemp processors earned $57.75 million; up from $16.7 million the year prior.
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