McConnell calls for removal of industrial hemp from controlled substances list

The Senate’s top Republican says hemp shouldn’t be a controlled substance, and he plans to introduce a new bill to make the change.

Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell made the announcement about the proposed change to federal hemp law Monday in his home state of Kentucky.

“It’s now time to take the final step and make this a legal crop,” McConnell said.

The Senate Majority Leader says he’ll introduce legislation to take hemp out of the Controlled Substances Act.

The federal government defines hemp as Cannabis sativa with a THC content below 0.3%.

Hemp production was authorized in the 2014 Farm Bill, but growing hemp is limited to states that have created hemp pilot projects.

At least 34 states have done so, but McConnell’s proposal to deschedule hemp would open the door to nationwide production and allow interstate transport of live seeds.

A similar bill to take hemp off the list of controlled substances has been gathering dust in the House, where fellow Kentucky Republican Rep. James Comer proposed the idea.

Hemp activists hope for a hearing on Comer’s bill this spring, though none has been scheduled.

McConnell said Monday there was “some queasiness” about hemp when the 2014 Farm Bill cleared the way for states to regulate it for research and pilot programs.

“I think we’ve worked our way through the education process of making sure everybody understands this is really a different plant,” McConnell said.

– Associated Press