Sen. Mitch McConnell pushes hemp legalization in farm bill

(AP)—Declaring he has “won the argument’’ on hemp, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Tuesday that the Senate is on track for a vote to legalize the crop that comes from the same plant that produces marijuana.
    The Senate Agriculture Committee is scheduled to consider the farm bill Wednesday. It will include a provision to remove hemp from a list of Schedule I controlled substances, making it legal for farmers to grow and sell the crop. Although far from becoming law, the step is noted progress for an idea that has faced staunch opposition among conservative lawmakers.
    “We’ve won the argument that this is not about marijuana,’’ McConnell said about hemp. “Now we just need to pass the law. And I’m in a uniquely well-situated position to make that happen.’’
    The committee is scheduled to meet one day after McConnell set a record by becoming the longest-serving GOP leader in the Senate’s history, surpassing former Sen. Bob Dole of Kansas. He says the leadership role allows for small, rural Kentucky to “punch above its weight’’ when competing against states like New York and California that have large congressional delegations.
    “I’m going to run again for leader in November and I’m going to run again for Senate in 2020,’’ McConnell said. “I’m grateful to have had the confidence of my colleagues over the years.’’

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