New bill would fully legalize hemp in USA

Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky introduced the 2018 Farm BillRepublican Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky introduced the 2018 Farm Bill

A bill introduced in the U.S. Senate today would open up industrial hemp farming and make federal funding available for research of the plant’s uses and give farmers the chance to get insure their crops.

The Hemp Farming Act of 2018 would remove hemp from Schedule 1 of the U.S. Controlled Substance Act and let states create their own regulatory regimes under guidance of the federal Department of Agriculture. Hemp is currently under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, which treats it as the equivalent of marijuana — and therefore illegal.

More than 30 states have hemp programs

The Senate bill is a successor to one Congress authorized in 2014. Since then, more than 30 states have created pilot hemp programs: Alabama, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia and Wyoming.

Sen. Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky, who introduced the Senate Bill, said two weeks ago he will be talking about hemp issues with U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, a longtime cannabis law reform opponent.