On June 28, the U.S. Senate passed its 2018 Farm Bill that includes provisions to legalize hemp as an agricultural commodity for the first time since the 1930’s. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell initially proposed the Hemp Farming Act of 2018 as a stand-alone bill, but eventually rolled it into the larger farm legislation to ensure a greater chance of success. The 2018 Farm Bill was approved by the full Senate with a resounding 86-11 vote.
What Does This Mean?
This U.S. Senate approved bill would:
- Legalize hemp, removing it from the federal Controlled Substances Act
- Allow the plant to be grown, processed and sold as an agricultural commodity
- Permit the states to regulate hemp without fear of federal intervention
- Allow hemp farmers to apply for crop insurance or research grants from the federal Department of Agriculture
So, what’s next?
The farm legislation from both the Senate and House will now move to a joint Congressional committee that will merge both chambers’ bills into a single piece of legislation to be sent to President Trump’s desk. Although the future of the bill’s hemp provision is uncertain, all indications are that Mitch McConnell will fight hard for the survival of his hemp proposal.