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FRANKFORT, Ky. – Senate Leader-in-Chief said he wanted to bring hemp production back into mainstream by removing them from the list of controlled substances
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said in his home state of Kentucky to supporters of Hemp, he will introduce laws to legalize the crop as an agricultural commodity. The versatile crop has been experimentally cultivated in a number of countries in recent years.
"It's time to take the final step and make it a legal plant," McConnell said.
Kentucky was at the forefront of hemp comeback. Kentucky Farmers recently approved more than 1
Hemp without a federal grant has long been banned because of its classification as a controlled substance in relation to marijuana. Hemp and marijuana are the same species, but hemp has a negligible amount of THC, the psychoactive compound that gives marijuana users a high profile.
Hemp received a limited pardon with the Federal Building Act 2014, which allows state agricultural departments to designate hemp projects for research and development. So far, 34 states have approved hemp research, while actual production has taken place in 19 states last year, said Eric Steenstra, president of advocacy Vote Hemp. Hemp production in 2017 was 25,541 acres (10,336 hectares), more than twice the production in 2016.
The crop that once flourished in Kentucky was historically used for ropes, but has many other uses, including clothing and mulch the fiber, hemp milk and edible oil from the seeds and soap and lotions. Other uses include building materials, animal bedding and biofuels.
Cannabis advocates, who have been fighting for years to restore the legitimacy of the harvest, hailed McConnell's decision to put his political influence behind efforts to make it a legal crop again.
great development for the hemp industry, "said Steenstra. McConnell's support is critical to helping us shift hemp from research and pilot programs to commercial production. "
Brian Furnish, an eighth-generation tobacco producer in Kentucky, began converting to hemp, and his family becomes this Harrison County grows about 120 hectares of hemp, and is also a partner in a company that transforms hemp into food, fiber, and dietary supplements.
Furnish said hemp has the potential to compete with what tobacco production once meant for Kentucky
"All we need to do is the government get out of the way and let us grow," he told reporters.
McConnell acknowledged there was "some nausea" about hemp in 2014 when federal legislators pave the way Free for states to regulate it for research and pilot programs There is a much broader understanding that hemp is a "completely different" plant than its illegal cousin.
"I think we've worked through the education process to make sure everyone understands that it's a different plant." The Republican leader said.
McConnell said he plans to have these discussions with Attorney General Jeff Sessions to highlight the differences between the investments. The Trump government has taken a harder stance on marijuana.
The US Department of Justice press service did not respond immediately to an e-mail request.
McConnell said his law would attract a bipartisan group of co-sponsors. He said the move would allow states to monitor primary hemp production by providing plans to state farm officials on how they would monitor production.
"We will do everything we can to pull it off," he said.
In Kentucky, current or former tobacco growers could easily convert to hemp production, Furnish said. Equipment and stables used for tobacco can be used to produce hemp, he said. Tobacco production in Kentucky fell sharply under falling smoking rates.
Furnish said his family had harvested a profit of about $ 2,000 per acre for hemp grown for supplements, better than what they made of tobacco, he said.
Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles, whose great-grandfather planted hemp for ropes to support the war effort in the 1940s, said he hopes that legalizing Han can "open the floodgates and let us see the true potential of this harvest."
"We hope to position Kentucky to maximize the benefits of this harvest once it is legalized, so economic activity will remain here," he said.