The very conservative Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has joined the movement to have hemp removed from the controlled substance list. It is a big win for hemp industry advocates as he should have no trouble gaining bipartisan support for the bill he is going to push through congress.
He addressed his home state of Kentucky earlier this week letting them know of his intentions. Kentucky is struggling economically and hemp grows well in the state. They already have 57 processors and the state just granted another 12,000 acres to grow it.
“It’s now time to take the final step and make this a legal crop,” McConnell said.
“I think we’ve worked our way through the education process of making sure everybody understands this is really a different plant,” the Republican leader said.
McConnell said he plans to have those discussions with Attorney General Jeff Sessions to emphasize the differences between the plants. The Trump administration has taken a tougher stance on marijuana.
McConnell said his bill will attract a bipartisan group of co-sponsors. He said the measure would allow states to have primary regulatory oversight of hemp production if they submit plans to federal officials outlining how they would monitor production.
“We’re going to give it everything we’ve got to pull it off,” he said.
“We hope to position Kentucky to maximize the benefit of this crop once legalized, so the economic activity stays right here,” he said.
Hemp is not marijuana, but it is a close cousin that does not produce the amount of THC that medical or recreational marijuana does. Hemp is an industrial textile that is relatively easy to grow and can be used for many things like clothing and oils. A plane was even recently designed out of hemp and is fueled by hemp oil. It has many applications that an be a true boon to Kentucky and the rest of the country.