U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell formally introduced a bill on the Senate floor that would officially remove hemp from the Controlled Substances Act, allowing farmers to grow hemp as an agricultural product and businesses to sell its extracts, fiber and protein as agricultural commodities. The Hemp Farming Act of 2018 not only legalizes hemp under U.S. federal law, it also opens hemp research and funding at the federal level, formally recognizes state and Native American Tribe regulation, and clarifies other issues like transportation and borders. Additionally, the proposed legislation offers a path to hemp crop insurance through USDA, providing a significant potential for greatly expanded farm production.
This formal legislation is a major milestone in the evolution of hemp as a food product, and for its future economic impact across the country, especially in Kentucky. “Time and again, they (Kentucky farmers) shared with me their enthusiasm for hemp’s potential to re-energize agricultural communities and provide a new spark to the U.S. economy,” said Leader McConnell, “This bill will help make that potential a reality.”
Kentucky lawmakers have been active in their leadership of hemp legislation. The Hemp Farming Act of 2018 comes on the heels of a House companion bill introduced by Rep. James Comer, former Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner. Current Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles has also been a vocal champion for the industry, commenting at a press conference with Leader McConnell in March, “I want to thank Leader McConnell for introducing this legislation which allows us to harness the economic viability of this crop and presents the best opportunity to put hemp on a path to commercialization.”
GenCanna™ is proud of its central role in the growth of hemp and hemp derived products — an industry that, according to Leader McConnell, added 81 new jobs in Kentucky and brought economic impact of more than $16 million for Kentucky farmers in the last year. “Leader McConnell's continued advocacy for hemp is tremendous. Kentucky continues to drive the growth of the hemp industry thanks to our congressional leadership,” said GenCanna™ CEO Matty Mangone-Miranda, “Formally legalizing hemp and easing business restrictions around this new agricultural commodity will help American farmers farm, and continue to build on the $40M in economic impact GenCanna™ has delivered to our Kentucky home.”
To learn more about the Hemp Farming Act of 2018, and to become an advocate for hemp legalization, visit the U.S. Hemp Roundtable.
Read the full press release here.