Kentucky’s senior senator is keeping a promise to push for the legalization of hemp.
Sen. Mitch McConnell unveiled the bipartisan Hemp Farming Act of 2018 Thursday, which would remove hemp from the list of controlled substances and re-categorize the product as a legal agricultural commodity. The legislation would also allow hemp researchers to apply for federal grants and make hemp farmers eligible for crop insurance.
"Already, in fact, around $600 million dollars in hemp products are sold each year here in the U.S.," McConnell told colleagues. "But due to current laws, much of this hemp has to be imported. That cuts out our American farmers. It's time for that to change."
In a floor speech, the majority leader cited Kentucky’s limited pilot projects investigating the potential for the crop and touted its many uses.
"Hemp is proving useful across a wide variety of innovative products. Its fibers are being added to concrete and home insulation. Its extracts are being researched for potential health benefits. And some breweries in Kentucky have even crafted hemp-infused beer," he added.
Kentucky Congressman Jamie Comer is slated to introduce companion legislation in the U.S. House.