S. Pakhrin

Senate Committee Approves Farm Bill with Hemp Legalization Language

The Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry advanced the 2018 Farm Bill on Wednesday in an overwhelmingly supportive 20-1 vote, according to a Marijuana Moment report.

“It’s a landmark piece of legislation that will benefit farmers and communities throughout our country. I’m particularly excited that the legislation being considered today includes provisions from the Hemp Farming Act of 2018…which I introduced earlier this year.” — Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, during a hearing on Wednesday

The Farm Bill could still be subject to changes upon reaching the Senate floor but the hemp legalization amendment enjoys strong bipartisan support, with both the Senate Majority Leader and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-New York) enthusiastically backing it.

In one last-minute effort to undermine the hemp legalization language, Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) filed a controversial amendment to the Farm Bill on Tuesday targeting the hemp-derived CBD industry. The amendment would have modified the hemp legalization language to exclude “the derivatives, extracts, cannabinoids, isomers, acids, salts, and/or salts of isomers” of the plant. Sen. Grassley said that he would support hemp legalization but not the CBD extracts industry; he also said that he had objected to McConnell’s hemp legalization language on procedural grounds but was ignored by his colleagues.

Advocates and hemp supporters lashed out against the amendment. In a series of tweets, Kentucky’s Commissioner of Agriculture Ryan Quarles railed against Sen. Grassley’s amendment:

“On behalf of Kentucky’s farm families, I STRONGLY oppose Senator Grassley’s Amendment…. CBD has been a huge part of making our research pilot a model for the nation. Kentucky’s farmers and processors are making innovative CBD products available to consumers. We recorded millions of dollars in sales revenues last year. The Grassley Amendment must be STOPPED in its tracks.” — Kentucky Commissioner of Ag. Ryan Quarles, on Twitter

The bill advanced, however, without Sen. Grassley calling for the committee to vote on his amendment. Instead, he asked senators to “work with me to modify this provision after this bill gets out of committee.”

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