Updated: Jan 19, 2019
President Obama signed the Farm Bill on February 7, 2014. Section 7606 of the act, Legitimacy of Industrial Hemp Research, defines industrial hemp as distinct and authorizes institutions of higher education or state department's of agriculture in states that legalized hemp cultivation to conduct research and pilot programs.
Originally introduced by Representatives Jared Polis (D-CO), Thomas Massie (R-KY) and Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), the amendment allows State Agriculture Departments, colleges and universities to grow hemp, defined as the non-drug oilseed and fiber varieties of Cannabis, for academic or agricultural research purposes, but it applies only to states where industrial hemp farming is already legal under state law. Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY) successfully worked to retain and strengthen the hemp research amendment during the Farm Bill conference committee process.
In addition to the Farm Bill amendment, two standalone industrial hemp bills were introduced in the 113th Congress, HR 525, the "Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2013," was introduced in the U.S. House on February 6, 2013, and the companion bill, S 359, was introduced in the U.S. Senate soon thereafter on February 14, 2013.
With the passing of the Farm Bill, Kentucky was now able to create an industrial hemp research program and license universities to grow within the state. Click here to learn about Kentucky's Industrial Hemp Pilot Program.