Senate leader touts hemp legalization as part of farm bill

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) – Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says it’s “absurd” that the U.S. imports hemp products but puts severe restrictions on American-grown hemp. The Kentucky Republican is looking to change that by legalizing hemp in the next federal farm bill.

McConnell toured a hemp processing plant in Louisville on Thursday.

His proposal to bring back hemp as an agricultural commodity was in the Senate-passed version of the farm bill. The measure next goes to a House-Senate conference committee. McConnell says he’s “optimistic” the hemp language will be in the final product.

His proposal would remove hemp from the controlled substances list that currently associates the crop with its cousin – marijuana. Hemp and marijuana are the same species, but hemp has a negligible amount of THC, the psychoactive compound that gives marijuana users a high.

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