Photo: Office of Senator Mitch McConnell
US Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Kentucky Commissioner of Agriculture Ryan Quarles announced on Monday, March 26, 2018, the impending introduction of legislation in the United States Senate to support Kentucky’s hemp industry. The Hemp Farming Act of 2018 will legalize hemp as an agricultural commodity and remove it from the list of controlled substances. Senator McConnell spearheaded a provision in 2014 to legalize hemp pilot programs in the Farm Bill. The senator said hemp has played a foundational role in Kentucky’s agricultural heritage and believes it can be an important part of our future. Commissioner Quarles said Kentucky has built the best Industrial Hemp Research Pilot Program in the country and have established a model for how other states can do the same with buy-in from growers, processors, and law enforcement. The Hemp Farming Act of 2018 will help Kentucky enhance its position as the leading state on hemp production, allowing states to be the primary regulators of hemp, if the US Department of Agriculture approves their implementation plan. The legislation will also remove federal barriers in place that have stifled the industry, which will help expand domestic hemp production.