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The U.S. Senate Voted to Legalize Hemp. And Hemp Won.

The Farm Bill legalizes the cultivation, processing, and sale of industrial hemp.


Hemp might not be the first thing you think about when you hear the name Mitch McConnell, but the Senate Majority Leader has championed legislation to make it legal to grow industrial hemp in the U.S. Yesterday, the Farm Bill passed by a vote of 86-11, with rare bi-partisan support. 

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“I’m most excited about a provision in this bill that will clear the way for the legal farming of industrial hemp by removing current roadblocks that prevent farmers in Kentucky and around the country from capitalizing on this promising crop,” said Senator McConnell

Not the Psycho-Active Drug

The United States is the only developed country which still bans the growth of industrial hemp. This is mostly due to bad PR for the plant, which many falsely associate with reefer. 

But McConnell and others were quick to point out that hemp is the non-psychoactive strain of cannabis, unlike "its illicit cousin" marijuana. Indeed, hemp contains the double whammy of low levels of THC, the chemical that causes you to get high, and CBD that blocks the effectiveness of the THC.

According to a Congressional Research Service report released last week, industrial hemp is "used in the production of a wide range of products, including foods and beverages, cosmetics and personal care products, nutritional supplements, fabrics and textiles, yarns and spun fibers, paper, construction and insulation materials, and other manufactured goods."

Related: Hemp Is the Multibillion-Dollar Cannabis Opportunity Few Have Heard About 

What's Next?

The Farm bill would remove hemp from the federal list of controlled substances, allowing it to be sold as an agricultural commodity. States would be allowed to regulate hemp, and hemp researchers could apply for grants from the Agriculture Department.

But don't hold your breath— the Senate's bill still needs the approval of the House, which is working on its own version of hemp legalization, before it can land on the President's desk for his signature. 

Related: Will President Trump Really Support States' Rights On Marijuana?