The bill — dubbed the Hemp Farming Act of 2018 — has bipartisan support, with Sens. Rand Paul (R-KY) and Ron Wyden (D-OR) both listed as co-sponsors for the legislation.
Industrial hemp pilot programs are already underway in the sponsoring senators’ home states of Kentucky and Oregon, but the proposed legislation would legalize hemp federally by removing it from the Controlled Substances Act and would give states the right to determine their own regulations for hemp as an agricultural commodity.
“Hemp has played a foundational role in Kentucky’s agriculture heritage, and I believe that it can be an important part of our future.” — Sen. McConnell in the report
Under the proposal, researchers would be able to apply directly to the Department of Agriculture for grants to study the crop.
While hemp products are technically legal in the United States, the cultivation of hemp is currently restricted to only individuals who have received a license to grow it under a state’s pilot research program. So far, more than 30 states have established some form of pilot hemp program since they were made legal under the 2014 Farm Bill.