Members of Congress on both sides of the aisle are celebrating a hemp legalization provision that made it into the final version of the 2018 Farm Bill.
Perhaps no one is more pleased than Senate Majority Mitch McConnell (R-KY), who fought for the provision over months of debate on the wide-ranging agriculture legislation. He even signed the conference report finalizing the bill language with a hemp pen on Monday.
In opening remarks from the Senate floor on Tuesday, McConnell said the inclusion of hemp legalization is “a victory for farmers and consumers throughout our country.” It builds on the progress of the hemp pilot program he helped put in the 2014 Farm Bill, the results of which he said “have been nothing short of extraordinary.”
At a time when farm income is down and growers are struggling, industrial hemp is a bright spot of agriculture’s future. My provision in the Farm Bill will not only legalize domestic hemp, but it will also allow state departments of agriculture to be responsible for its oversight
— Leader McConnell (@senatemajldr) December 11, 2018
“Now American-grown hemp can be found in your food, in your clothes and even in your car dashboard,” he said. “The results mean jobs, economic growth and new opportunity.”
“At a time when farm income is down and growers are struggling, industrial hemp is a bright spot of agriculture’s future.”
Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) helped McConnell secure hemp legalization in the agriculture legislation and said “the outrageous and outdated ban on growing hemp has hamstrung farmers in Oregon and across the country” in a press release Tuesday.
The passage of this provision is a huge win for Oregon farmers and rural communities across the country that have been hamstrung by archaic laws, and unable to pursue the opportunities for economic growth this industry has to offer.
— Ron Wyden (@RonWyden) December 11, 2018
“Hemp products are made in America, sold in America, and consumed in America,” Wyden said. “Now, hemp will be able to be legally grown in America, to the economic benefit of consumers and farmers in Oregon and nationwide.”
Fellow Oregon lawmaker Rep. Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR) also cheered the “good news” that the provision made the cut.
— Suzanne Bonamici (@RepBonamici) December 11, 2018
Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO) touted hemp legalization in a tweet Tuesday.
This bipartisan #FarmBill will legalize hemp, conserve land and water, combat climate change & bolster economic security in rural communities. The finish line is in sight. Now Congress needs to do what’s right for Colorado & send this bill to @POTUS‘ desk by the end of the year. https://t.co/3fzUs1nEwb
— Michael Bennet (@SenBennetCO) December 11, 2018
“The finish line is in sight,” Bennet wrote. “Now Congress needs to do what’s right for Colorado & send this bill to [President Trump’s] desk by the end of the year.”
Lawmakers are hoping to put the Farm Bill to a full House and Senate vote and deliver the legislation to the president this week. McConnell said on Tuesday that members of Congress should be prepared to work through the holiday break to make sure this and other bills, including criminal justice reform and legislation to fund parts of the federal government for Fiscal Year 2019, are seen all the way through.