McConnell announces hemp legislation with Ky. Ag. Commissioner

Hemp field farmed by Interval company in Arc-Les-Gray near Dijon central eastern France

Matt Jones - the host of "Kentucky Sports Radio" and LEX 18-affiliated "Hey Kentucky!" - is turning heads in political circles with a new profile that shows him inching toward challenging U.S. Sen.

Now hemp can only been grown with a federal permit because it is classified as a controlled substance due to it's close relation to marijuana. Hemp is the cannabis plant used to extract the non-psychoactive compound CBD that relieves pain and "doesn't get you high". In addition to opening the fields for hemp, it will give researchers the chance to apply for federal grants from the Department of Agriculture. In states where hemp is legal, hemp products must contain no more than.003 percent in order to stay on the market.

The family connection sidelined hemp production for decades.

Supporters said the bill would bring more certainty for farmers, agribusinesses, and investors looking at the crop. Other uses include building materials, animal bedding and biofuels.

As a Kentucky native, McConnell has always been an advocate of hemp as a cash crop. He and his predecessor, Jamie Comer, have been real champions for the research and development of industrial hemp in the Commonwealth.

The Hemp Farming Act of 2018 will be co-sponsored by fellow Kentucky Republican Sen.

Since the 2014 federal Farm Bill allowed experimental hemp production, crop production has spread but remains tiny. He's also part owner of a company that turns hemp into food, fiber and dietary supplements.

Kentucky's hemp industry may be getting a boost.

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"All we've got to do is the government get out of the way and let us grow", he told reporters.

Senator McConnell took the first step to support hemp in 2014 by using his leadership position in the Senate to spearhead a provision to legalize hemp pilot programs in the Farm Bill. "But I think most everybody ... now understands this is a totally different plant". McConnell said in the release. The Trump administration has taken a tougher stance on marijuana.

McConnell said another item, immigration reform, is complicated and "terribly partisan".

McConnell (R-Kentucky) announced a bill on Monday that would legalize the growing of hemp as an agricultural product.

In Kentucky, current or ex-tobacco farmers could easily make the conversion to hemp production, Furnish said.

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell met leaders from Kentucky's hemp industry and the state's Department of Agriculture Commissioner on Monday for a dialogue about the future of industrial hemp.

This story was reported by The Associated Press.

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