Hemp was once one of the top agricultural crops in the United States and has been making a major comeback in recent years.
A federal farm bill enacted in 2014 created exceptions to the national ban on hemp in the United States.
States that passed measures to create pilot programs or research programs have been allowed to permit hemp cultivation, which many states are now doing.
As of 2017, 39 states had removed barriers to hemp production according to Vote Hemp. According to reports out of Congress, hemp could be legalized nationally very soon.
Senator Mitch McConnell’s reported plans for the next farm bill
Hemp reform has been a popular topic in Congress this year. More members of Congress than ever before expressed support for federal hemp reform.
Members of both major political parties are trying to champion the issue, which is an extremely rare thing given the current tense political climate.
In an era when partisan politics is as adversarial as ever, hemp is arguably the most unifying public policy issue in politics.
According to McClatchy DC Bureau Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has had “numerous conversations about including hemp legislation in the 2018 farm policy bill.”
“A decision on this effort, including the language, has been determined by an agreement that would be reached with Mr. McConnell.” said Representative Pete Sessions (R-TX) to fellow House members who wanted a vote in their chamber.
What would Mitch McConnell’s hemp reform measure look like?
The report from McClatchy did not include any details about what McConnell’s plan would look like.
However, he introduced a hemp legalization bill earlier this year that could provide some insight. Below are highlights of the legislation:
- Define hemp as an agricultural commodity
- Remove hemp from the list of federally controlled substances
- Let states regulate hemp
- Allow hemp researchers to apply for federal grants
- Make hemp farmers eligible to apply for crop insurance
How many of the provisions will make it into the next farm bill is anyone’s guess, but if Mitch McConnell truly is driving federal hemp reform efforts, one would assume it would be all of it.
Federal hemp reform needs your help!
Just because momentum is at an all-time high for hemp reform in Congress does not mean that people should be complacent. After all, nothing in the political world is guaranteed.
Because of that people need to do their part and contact their federal lawmakers and urge them to support the inclusion of hemp reform in the next farm bill.
Point out that many states are currently cultivating hemp and are home to thriving industries, and that no major issues have been reported.
Hemp reform has something for everyone on the political spectrum. Farmers across the United States should be able to cultivate hemp and supply an ever-increasing demand for hemp products.
The prohibition of hemp should have never started, but regardless, now is the time to end it. Step up and do your part to push federal hemp reform over the top!