Updated: Jan 19, 2019
On January 22, 2015, Kentucky Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY) announced H.R. 525, “The Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2015," along with Congressman Jared Polis (D-CO), and a bipartisan coalition of 45 lawmakers. It was introduced in the House on January 26. The bill, identical the bill introduced in the previous (113th) Congress, would amend the Controlled Substances Act to exclude industrial hemp from the definition of marihuana, and for other purposes.
"I'm optimistic that we can get the Industrial Hemp Farming Act to the President's desk this Congress,” said Representative Massie in a press release. “In 2014, for the first time in over half a century, hemp was grown and harvested in Kentucky under the pilot programs allowed by the Polis-Massie-Blumenauer amendment to the 2014 Farm Bill. I look forward to building on last year’s momentum to give our nation's farmers and manufacturers more opportunities to compete and succeed in the global economy."
Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner James Comer added, “From the first day I took office, I’ve worked with a bipartisan group of partners to unlock the potential of industrial hemp to create jobs and farm income. We’ve made tremendous strides in a short time, but now we need to take the next step and make hemp production legal for anyone who wants to grow and process it. Rep. Massie has stood side by side with us from the beginning, and I appreciate all his efforts to get this done.”
Kentucky made significant progress on this issue in 2014 under the leadership of Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner James Comer at the state level and Senate Majority Leader McConnell, Senator Paul, and Representative Massie at the federal level.
In early 2014, the President signed into law the 2014 Farm Bill that contained an amendment allowing research institutions and state agriculture departments to grow and cultivate industrial hemp in states where it is already legal to do so. Additionally, last December's CR/Omnibus included Congressman Massie's amendment to further support the hemp pilot projects enabled by the bill.
The Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2015 would finally remove the legal barriers that have prohibited the cultivation of hemp for commercial purposes. S. 134 and H.R. 525 Would Remove Federal Restrictions on Industrial Hemp Farming in the U.S. and Allow States to Regulate the Crop.