-Sen. McConnell said in a statement. “The utilization of hemp to produce everything from clothing to paper is real, and if there is a capacity to center a new domestic industry in Kentucky that will create jobs in these difficult economic times, that sounds like a good thing to me.”
While spring time in the Rockies has been historically beautiful… It could potentially become a lot better. There was new legislation making the rounds in the United States Senate this past week, hoping to cultivate support for the commercial production of industrial hemp. From the craziest of fear mongers like Kentucky Sen. Mitch McConnell, a diehard ‘pot hating’ Republican, to the old standbys, like Rand Paul, also a Republican senator from Kentucky. Hemp has been high on the agenda for those states looking to “cash in” and generate a new income source, as the weird and embittered prohibition against hemp production preparers to come to a screeching halt.
– Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director –
For the first time in modern history, members of the United States Senate have introduced legislation in Congress to allow for the commercial production of industrial hemp.
Last week, Senators Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Rand Paul (R-KY), and Ron Wyden (D-OR) introduced Senate Bill 359 to amend the US Controlled Substances Act to exclude industrial hemp from the definition of marijuana. The measure grants state legislatures the authority to license and regulate the commercial production of hemp as an industrial and agricultural commodity.
Senator McConnell is the Senate minority leader. He is a former opponent of hemp law reform.
“I am convinced that allowing [hemp] production will be a positive development for Kentucky’s farm families and economy,” Sen. McConnell said in a statement. “The utilization of hemp to produce everything from clothing to paper is real, and if there is a capacity to center a new domestic industry in Kentucky that will create jobs in these difficult economic times, that sounds like a good thing to me.”
Senate Bill 359 is the companion bill to House Bill 525, the Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2013. That measure has 28 co-sponsors.
Eight states — Colorado, Maine, Montana, North Dakota, Oregon, Vermont, Washington and West Virginia — have enacted statutory changes defining industrial hemp as distinct agricultural product and allowing for its regulated commercial production. Passage of HR 525/S 359 would remove existing federal barriers and allow these states and others the authority to do so without running afoul of federal anti-drug laws.
According to a Congressional Research Service report, “The United States is the only developed nation in which industrial hemp is not an established crop.”