U.S. Senate passes farm bill that legalizes industrial hemp

A new bill that would allow farmers to grow hemp for commercial purposes now has approval of the Senate.

The Senate passed the Farm Bill on Thursday with an 86-11 vote, the AP reports.

The legislation focusing on agriculture and food policy renews farm programs such as crop insurance and land conservation, and also contains provisions to allow businesses to cultivate, process, and sell industrial hemp.

The provisions have been approved by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), who also wants hemp to qualify for crop insurance.

“Consumers across America buy hundreds of millions in retail products every year that contain hemp,” McConnell said in a floor speech. “But due to outdated federal regulations that do not sufficiently distinguish this industrial crop from its illicit cousin, American farmers have been mostly unable to meet that demand themselves. It’s left consumers with little choice but to buy imported hemp products from foreign-produced hemp.”

McConnell introduced standalone legislation to legalize hemp farming earlier this year, and has the bipartisan support of 29 cosponsors made of 17 Democrats,…

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