Updated: Jan 19, 2019
On July 17, 2015, U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) secured a provision in the Senate Agriculture Appropriations bill "Omnibus Spending Bill" to allow the processing of legally grown industrial hemp. The McConnell language would help farmers transport legal industrial hemp between states so the crop can be developed for commercial purposes.
“Kentucky’s industrial hemp pilot programs continue to prosper, and I want to make sure our legal hemp producers can safely transport their crops between states, including to states that maintain processing facilities, so they can fully capitalize on the commercial potential for this commodity,” McConnell said.
“This latest language reemphasizes that industrial hemp from a farm bill research program is an agricultural commodity. The ability of Kentucky to research the full potential of industrial hemp through processing, marketing, and sales is vital to understanding the future possibilities for industrial hemp,” said Kentucky Commissioner of Agriculture James Comer.
Last month, Senator McConnell worked with Senators Jeff Merkley (D-OR) and Jon Tester (D-MT) to secure language in the Senate Commerce, Justice, and Science Appropriations bill to ensure that legal industrial hemp pilot programs, like those in Kentucky, can continue without federal disruption.
These latest hemp provisions build upon Senator McConnell’s work in last year’s Farm Bill, which gave state agricultural commissioners and universities the federal authority to cultivate industrial hemp for pilot programs.