McConnell Hemp Provision Clears Another Hurdle; Final Vote Expected Soon
‘At a time when farm income is down and our growers are struggling, industrial hemp is a bright spot of agriculture’s future. My provision in the Farm Bill will not only legalize domestic hemp, but it will also allow state departments of agriculture to be responsible for its oversight.’
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) delivered the following remarks today on the Senate regarding the Farm Bill and the inclusion of a pro-hemp provision:
“As I mentioned a moment ago, one key piece of our unfinished business is the Farm Bill. Last night I used my very own hemp pen to sign the conference report, clearing the way for the House and the Senate to pass the legislation and send it to the president’s desk. And I’m proud that the bill includes my provision to legalize the production of industrial hemp. It’s a victory for farmers and consumers throughout our country.
“Fighting for Kentucky hemp has been a long struggle. My state was once the national leader in the growing and production of industrial hemp. But then, for decades, a federal ban halted that progress and shut American farmers out of the hemp field. Don’t get me wrong, hemp could still be found in this country, in all kinds of products. The problem is that it’s just all being grown somewhere else and imported.
“It's time to let American growers get back in business with this versatile crop once again. The farmers, processors, and manufacturers in my state and across this country are ready for the hemp comeback. It began in 2014 when I secured the establishment of hemp pilot programs, with the help of then-Agriculture Commissioner Jamie Comer. States like Kentucky got the chance to explore the plant’s potential and to show us all just what hemp could do. And the results have been nothing short of extraordinary.
“Now, American-grown hemp can be found in your food, your clothes, even in your car dashboard. The results mean jobs, economic growth, and new opportunity. Last year alone, hemp products contributed more than $16 million to Kentucky’s economy. And this is just the pilot program. At a time when farm income is down and our growers are struggling, industrial hemp is a bright spot of agriculture’s future. My provision in the Farm Bill will not only legalize domestic hemp, but it will also allow state departments of agriculture to be responsible for its oversight. In Kentucky, that means that Commissioner Ryan Quarles, another champion of hemp, will be able to help farmers thrive.
“When the Senate votes on this legislation in the coming days, we will also be voting to give farmers throughout the country the chance to tap into hemp’s potential and take part in its future. I’ve been proud to work with my colleagues in Congress, like Senator Wyden, and with hemp’s advocates in Kentucky to get to this point. And I will proudly vote for this bill.”