After months of rumors that the United States Senate would legalize hemp, on Thursday they finally pulled it off.
The U.S. Senate voted 86-11 on a massive new farm bill. Included in the farm bill is a provision that will legalize hemp once again as an agricultural commodity. The bill would remove hemp from the federal list of controlled substances and allow states to regulate its sale.
Originally Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell introduced a standalone bill in April to legalize hemp, but he decided to include it inside the new farm bill, presumably so it would be more likely to pass.
"I have heard from many Kentucky farmers who agree it’s time to remove the federal hurdles and give our state the opportunity to seize its full potential and once again become the national leader for hemp production. That is why I strongly advocated for this measure to be included in the Farm Bill," McConnell said in a statement.
Hemp was originally outlawed as a controlled substance due to its similarity to cannabis. But unlike cannabis, hemp cannot get people high.
However, this doesn't mean that hemp is officially legal. The House of Representatives will pass its own version of the Farm Bill that will probably not include a provision to legalize hemp. That means the two legislative houses will need to come together to reconcile the two different versions of the bill. So it's possible the final version of the bill will not include hemp legalization if House leaders don't believe it will pass.
But considering McConnell's authority and passion to legalize hemp, it seems highly likely that he'll figure out a way to make sure hemp gets included in the final bill.
(h/t The Hill)