Senator McConnell and Commissioner Quarles Announce Hemp Legislation

Clay Curtis
March 28, 2018

Ron Wyden (D-OR), and Rep. Jamie Comer (R-KY), would remove federal barriers to the planting and production of hemp, open the way for researchers to apply for grants from the US Department of Agriculture, and allow for state regulation of the plant.

Brian Furnish, an eighth-generation tobacco farmer in Kentucky, has taken the plunge into hemp production.

The DEA has maintained that CBDs are illegal, even in light of the 2014 Farm BIll.

In 2017, hemp production and cultivation research was approved for more than 12,800 acres in 71 Kentucky counties-and that number is expected to grow, according to the Kentucky Department of Agriculture. Is this the same as it's distant cousin? "And no other Republican will, and I don't think any other Democrat can". There's much broader understanding now that hemp is a "totally different" plant than its cousin, he said. There may be some continued discussion of that.

"Four years after GenCanna was Kentucky's first CBD specific Industrial Hemp Research Pilot Program participant, (and) we are ecstatic", said GenCanna President Steve Bevan, "As a company, GenCanna is extremely proud of our local job creation and $40M in economic impact over the last 4 years".

A study by the University of Wisconsin-Madison concluded that hemp production "is not likely to generate sizeable profits" and also noted that worldwide competition would affect the U.S. Most of the hemp for these sales was imported from China and Canada.

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Hemp was selectively bred for a range of consumer and industrial uses and has been grown in the U.S. for centuries.

While in his home state of Kentucky, McConnell announced he will introduce a bill to legalize hemp as an "agricultural commodity".

The crop, which once thrived in Kentucky, was historically used for rope but has many other uses, including clothing and mulch from the fiber, hemp milk and cooking oil from the seeds, and soap and lotions. AG Sessions opposes the legalization of marijuana. The right-wing Kentucky senator, perhaps best known for Jon Stewart's Daily Show impersonations of him as a turtle, pulled a rabbit out of his hat and announced he's introducing a bill to legalize hemp nationwide. Kings Royal expects to start processing locally grown hemp in late 2018, and ramp up to full capacity by mid-2019.

Since then, 34 states have authorized hemp research, while actual production occurred in 19 states past year, said Eric Steenstra, president of the advocacy group Vote Hemp.

"This is big", he said.

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