Hemp finds place in appropriations bill
Industrial hemp producers may be able to transport their crops across state lines thanks to an amendment to the Senate’s $148.3 billion agriculture spending bill offered by McConnell.
The bill cleared the Senate Appropriations Committee on a 28-2 vote on Thursday.
“Kentucky’s industrial hemp pilot programs continue to prosper and I want to make sure our legal hemp producers can safely transport their crops between states, including to States that maintain processing facilities, so they can fully capitalize on the commercial potential for this commodity,” McConnell said in a statement.
Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner James Comer praised McConnell’s efforts to boost hemp production in the U.S., saying the state’s agricultural sector “continues to be indebted to Senator McConnell for his continued leadership on industrial hemp.”
The GOP majority leader also worked with a pair of Democratic senators — Jeff Merkley of Oregon and Jon Tester of Montana — last month to maintain state-level industrial hemp pilot programs despite the illegality of marijuana’s botanical cousin at the federal level, according to a news release.
“This latest language reemphasizes that industrial hemp from a farm bill research program is an agricultural commodity,” Comer said in a statement. “The ability of Kentucky to research the full potential of industrial hemp through processing, marketing, and sales is vital to understanding the future possibilities for industrial hemp.”
Kentucky is one of 13 states that allow the commercial production of industrial hemp, with seven others operating research-only plots, according to an analysis by the National Conference of State Legislatures.