Hemp Legalization in Congress (2018 Updated)

The Hemp Farming Act is now a part of the 2018 Farm Bill.

It’s not often that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer agree, but they seem to have found common ground in an unlikely place: The Hemp Bill.

Sens. Mitch McConnell, Rand Paul, Chuck Schumer, Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden are among those who support a bipartisan senate bill aimed at making it easier for farmers to legally grow hemp in the United States.

hemp bill - will it pass

It’s time to Stop Importing and Start Growing. Support the Hemp Bill. 

Current regulations leave the US spending more than $600 million in imported hemp products a year. This legislation would change that.

The Hemp Farming Act will be attached to the Farm Bill, which includes other food and agricultural policies. McConnell said he expects the bill to hit the senate floor this month.

Handle @votehemp

In reality, industrial hemp is an oyster with a pearl of opportunities that could mean millions in economic revenue while also helping to support new local jobs, like NY’s Sullivan, Orange and Ulster counties.

— Chuck Schumer (@SenSchumer) May 5, 2018

What would the hemp bill accomplish?

The point of the hemp bill is to make it easier for farmers to grow it. First and foremost, despite varying state laws the federal government industrial hemp still considers hemp as a Schedule 1 drug. Do you know what else is a Schedule 1 drug? Heroin. Yep. This is a major point that will change should the Farm Bill (and ultimately the Hemp bill) pass.

Other deal points include
  • Farmers who grow hemp will be allowed to insure their crops, something they cannot do now even if their state permits hemp farming
  • Hemp researchers will be eligible for federal grants. With proper funding opportunities, imagine what we will be able to learn about hemp!
  • Making it easier for hemp growers to access banks which will significantly help growers run their businesses.
  • States will be in charge of regulating hemp farming – not federal courts.

 

What can you do?

Since the Hemp Bill is attached to the larger Farm Bill rather than standing alone, there’s a lot to consider (and we haven’t dove into any of that just yet). If you want to see this legislation passed we need to keep the conversation going.

hemp farming act deal points

If you are all for legalizing industrial hemp, why not contact your local senator?

McConnell Gets Hemp Bill added to 2018 Farm Bill

McConnell started last week by pushing a resolution through US Senate that acknowledged “the growing economic potential of industrial hemp” and its “historical relevance.” Not a single senator, Republican or Democrat, objected to the resolution.

A few days later, on Friday, June 8, 2018, McConnell announced that he had inserted the Hemp Farming Act into the Farm Bill. In a press release McConnell stated:

“As a result of the hemp pilot program, which I secured in the 2014 Farm Bill, Kentucky’s farmers, processors, and manufacturers have begun to show the potential for this versatile crop. Today’s announcement will build upon that progress to help the Commonwealth enhance its standing at the forefront of hemp’s return to American agriculture. I look forward to continuing to work with my Senate colleagues and my partners in Kentucky – including Kentucky Commissioner of Agriculture Ryan Quarles — to grow hemp’s bright future.”

The US Senate has a business meeting for the Farm Bill scheduled for Wednesday June 13, 2018 at 9:30am Eastern Time. You can watch live video of the hearing on the US Senate website.