Sen. Mitch McConnell eyes legalizing hemp as agricultural commodity

In July 2016, Gov. Tom Wolf signed legislation — sponsored by state Rep. Russ Diamond, of Lebanon County — that brought Pennsylvania law into line with federal guidelines, passed two year prior, pertaining to the cultivation of industrial hemp for research by universities and state departments of agriculture.

Eleven months after that, the first germination of industrial hemp plants made way in Perry County at Perry County Land and Cattle — one of 16 sites across the state taking part in a research project approved by the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture. And in February 2018, researchers were eyeing Rapho Township, Lancaster County as another possible site for industrial hemp research.

Now, federal guidelines relating to hemp may be expanded again, per an announcement made Monday by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

While speaking in his home state of Kentucky Monday, Sen. McConnell said he will introduce a bill to legalize hemp as an “agricultural commodity,” according to a CNN report.

“So I will be introducing, when I go back to the Senate a week from Monday, a bipartisan bill in the Senate to continue to support this important Kentucky industry; it will be the Hemp Farm Act of 2018. What will it do?” he said. “First and foremost, this bill will finally legalize hemp, legalize hemp as an agricultural commodity and remove it from list of controlled substances.”

In the past, Sen. McConnell has helped create new federal and state legal permissions for hemp, along with him involvement in the Agricultural Act of 2014, CNN’s report states.