No guarantee U.S. hemp bill will get Senate vote

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The new U.S. 2018 Farm Bill that would free states to guide hemp programs – allowing them to expand – is reportedly “fast tracked,” but proponents still can’t say if the measure will get consideration by the USA’s upper congressional body any time soon.

The office of Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell, who recently introduced the bill, said this week it was unclear when – or even if – the Senate would vote on the measure.

While the Act bypassed the Senate’s committee process via a procedural move and is “on the Senate calendar,” it’s still not guaranteed to get a hearing, McConnell’s office noted.

Technically, the bill would allow hemp to be sold as an agricultural commodity, removing it from the federal drug list. U.S. states currently administer hemp cultivation under the thumb of federal authorities. The new Act would turn the programs fully over to the states.

Meanwhile U.S. President Donald Trump has said his administration will lift a crackdown on states that have legalized marijuana – enveloping hemp as well. Trump made that announcement following talks with hemp-state advocates, undercutting a January policy announcement by Attorney General Jeff Sessions that had eased federal enforcement of marijuana laws and giving federal prosecutors wide latitude to pursue criminal charges.

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