from the takyon-and-chromas-hour dept.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell will introduce a bill to legalize the production of hemp by removing it from the list of controlled substances. The Hemp Farming Act of 2018 would remove the need for a federal permit to grow hemp. Since 2014, the federal farm bill (Agricultural Act of 2014) has allowed state agricultural departments to designate hemp projects for research purposes, with 34 states subsequently authorizing research and production occurring in 19:
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) announced a new bill on Monday that would legalize hemp as an agricultural product.
The Hemp Farming Act of 2018 would legalize hemp, removing it from the federal list of controlled substances and allowing it to be sold as an agricultural commodity, according to WKYT.
"Hemp has played a foundational role in Kentucky's agriculture heritage, and I believe that it can be an important part of our future," McConnell said in a statement.
U.S. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) has come out in support of federal cannabis decriminalization, just in time for 4/20:
The Minority Leader of the Senate is making it official the day before 4/20: He's down with legal weed. In an exclusive interview with VICE News, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) confirmed he is putting his name on legislation that he said is aimed at "decriminalizing" marijuana at the federal level. For Schumer, this is a shift. While he has backed medical marijuana and the rights of states to experiment with legal sales of pot, what he is proposing is a seismic shift in federal drug policy.
"Ultimately, it's the right thing to do. Freedom. If smoking marijuana doesn't hurt anybody else, why shouldn't we allow people to do it and not make it criminal?" Schumer said.
The legislation should be available within a week or so, and would remove cannabis (still listed as "Marihuana") from the Drug Enforcement Administration's list of Schedule I substances. States would then be free to regulate or continue to prohibit the plant. Cannabis advertising would be regulated as are alcohol and tobacco advertising. (Also at NPR, CNN, The Washington Post, and CNBC, as well as Reason taking a shot at Schumer for not doing it sooner.)
A majority of Americans support the legalization of cannabis, including, for the first time, a majority (51%) of Republicans, according to Gallup. Nine states and the District of Columbia have legalized cannabis for recreational use. 29 states, D.C., Guam, and Puerto Rico have legalized medical use of cannabis, and another 17 states have legalized the use of cannabidiol (CBD). Cannabis became available for recreational purposes in California on January 1.