Could we all witness a shift in the federal legalization of the hemp industry? Senator Mitch McConnell (KY) shows utmost support for loosening the federal laws on hemp.
March 26th, 2018 Senator Mitch McConnell announced his plans to introduce The Hemp Farming Act of 2018, which would remove hemp from regulation as a controlled substance and treat it as an agricultural commodity. Currently, hemp Companies across the U.S. operate under a confusing amount of federal protections — via the Agricultural Act of 2014, better known as the Farm Bill, which expires this year.
Hemp, a low to no THC cousin of Cannabis that was once widely grown across the United States, can be used to produce medicine and to make commercial items such as food, car parts, bio-fuels, animal feed and textiles. Under current regulations, hemp-based products are expected to generate $1 billion in revenues this year and grow to $1.7 billion by 2020, according to New Frontier Data, a cannabis data and analytics company.
The current federal provisions have been left open to interpretation by some federal agencies, such as the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
McConnell’s support should come as no surprise to the hemp industry. When Kentucky Rep. James Comer introduced the Industrial Hemp Farming Act last summer, it was anticipated that McConnell could spearhead companion legislation in the Senate. Hailing from hemp-friendly Kentucky, McConnell has worked behind the scenes on hemp-centric legislation since the 2014 Farm Bill.
The language of McConnell’s bill has yet to be released, but the expectation is that the wording should clearly protect all parts of the plant and their byproducts, including derivatives and extracts.
“The ultimate goal would be standalone legislation; however, the easier money may be on hitching the legislation onto the 2018 Farm Bill and furthering a standalone legislation at a later date,” McConnell said. “Making this permanent … we will see the industry unleashed, and we will see research unleashed,” he said.
Hemp’s backers include some of the most vocal Cannabis supporters in Congress, including Reps. Jared Polis, D-Colo., and Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore., Miller said.
hemp could easily be one of the nation’s biggest crops in 20 years.