In the USA, another two Senators have added their names to the list of cosponsors of a bipartisan bill for the Hemp Farming Act Of 2018.
The bill was introduced by U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in April and seeks to legalise industrial hemp at a federal level, see it classified an agricultural commodity and removed from Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act.
The latest Senators to lend their support are Mark Warner and Tim Kaine, both from Virginia – a state that previously had a long history with the crop and which brought early wealth to it.
“The American agricultural industry should not be held back by outdated restrictions on hemp production that prevent us from creating more jobs and growing our economy,” said Senator Warner. “This bipartisan bill will help Virginia farmers, manufacturers and small businesses benefit from the economic growth we have seen in this industry.”
Senator Kaine is equally enthusiastic at the prospect of industrial hemp properly re-establishing itself in his state.
“Hemp was grown in Virginia by Thomas Jefferson, and research and input from Virginia agricultural stakeholders, agricultural scientists at JMU and Virginia Tech, and economic development leaders like the Tobacco Commission have shown that it is safe and holds economic promise for rural Virginia,” said Senator Kaine. “I’m satisfied that this bill takes sensible steps to address law enforcement concerns and, in turn, that it makes sense to remove industrial hemp from the federal controlled substance list.”
With the addition of Senators Warner and Kaine, Hemp Farming Act of 2018 will have 47 cosponsors – closing in on a majority (there are 100 senators in the USA).
Up until recently in Virginia, industrial hemp could only grown for research purposes by universities, in line with the federal 2014 Farm Bill. However, last month legislation was signed into law allowing Virginians to grow or process industrial hemp without being a participant in a research program managed by an institution of higher education. The amendments to the Virginia Industrial Hemp Law come into effect on July 1, 2018.
Last year, less than 100 acres of hemp was grown in the state.