House, Senate Reach Accord for Legalizing Hemp in Farm Bill

The 2018 Farm Bill will include a provision to legalize industrial hemp, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) along with the top Republican and Democrat on the House Agriculture Committee supported Nov. 29, 2018.

Lawmakers in the Senate and House Agriculture Committees announced that theyrsquo;d reached an agreement in principle on the large scale agriculture and food policy laws and were in the process of finalizing “legal and report language. ” But while there’s still “more work to do,” it seems that hemp legalization made the cut.

The Congressional Budget Office is currently scoring the bill. After that’s language and complete is officially filed, the Farm Bill is going to be teed up for up-or-down votes in both chambers of Congress and, pending approval, delivered to the president’s desk. Lawmakers are hoping to pass the bill before the end of the year.

McConnell has been the chief proponent of the hemp legalization provision. He spoke frequently about the financial benefits of legalizing the lucrative crop and stated regulation should be in the purview of the U.S. Department of Agriculture rather than the Justice Department.

While the Senate-passed version of the Farm Bill contained the hemp language, the House version was quiet on the issue, leaving it up to a bicameral conference committee to settle the situation.

Hemp will be defined as all parts of the plant — including seeds and extracts — provided that they contain less than 0.3 percent THC, according to VoteHemp. The crop would also be completely eliminated from the Controlled Substances Act under the legislation.

States looking to be primary regulators are required to submit applications outlining their regulatory strategy to the USDA, which will have 60 days to make a determination.

While lawmakers in both chambers spent months negotiating on other aspects of the wide-ranging bill, the hemp legalization provision has enjoyed bipartisan support.

“For the first time in nearly a hundred years, commercial hemp production will no longer be prohibited in the United States,” National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) Political Director Justin Strekal stated in a press release. “This represents a significant and long overdue shift in US policy.

It remains to be seen whether the last language is any different from the version that the Senate approved. Specifically, advocates will be watching to see whether the conference report includes a provision that would ban people with felony drug convictions from cultivating and promoting hemp.

This article has been republished from Marijuana Moment below a content syndication agreement. Read the original article here.

Published at Sun, 02 Dec 2018 17:00:52 +0000

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