The Industrial Hemp Farming Act is back — will Congress legalize the crop?

These are times of cautious but rising optimism for supporters of industrial hemp.

Since 1970, all forms of Cannabis sativa L., including hemp, have been classified as a Schedule I drug under the Controlled Substances Act. Past legislative attempts to remove hemp from the CSA — six bills in the House and three in the Senate since 2005 — all died in committees without a floor vote.

But the Industrial Hemp Farming Act is back for its seventh iteration in the House, this time with momentum for passage, according to a bipartisan coalition of congressional leaders and agricultural advocates.

With the introduction of the Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2017 by Kentucky Republican Rep. James Comer, Congress is closer than ever to exempting hemp plants — defined as having less than 0.3 percent psychoactive THC — from the CSA and recognizing it as an agricultural commodity, Rep. Jared Polis, D-Colo., told The Cannabist.

“For the first time since I started work on this issue…

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