Legislation to allow hemp farming is moving on both the state and federal levels. The Kentucky Senate has given its approval, and now a bill in Washington seeks to lift a federal ban on the crop.
Republican senators Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul of Kentucky have joined Oregon Democratic Senators Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden in co-sponsoring a bill that would allow farmers to cultivate and profit from industrial hemp. Specifically, the bill would remove hemp from the Schedule One controlled substance list, and would define it as a non-drug.
Prior to World War One, Kentucky provided more than 90% of the nation’s industrial hemp. Hemp is used in a variety of products, including fabrics and cosmetics.
“I am proud to introduce legislation with my friend Rand Paul that will allow Kentucky farmers to harness the economic potential that industrial hemp can provide,” Sen. McConnell said. “During these tough economic times, this legislation has the potential to create jobs and provide a boost to Kentucky’s economy and to our farmers and their families.”
The state legislation moves to the House where supporters are less optimistic. House Speaker Greg Stumbo and Governor Steve Beshear remain opposed to legalizing hemp.