Congress Just Quietly Legalized Hemp – Is Cannabis Next?

This week, a plant that’s nearly identical to marijuana became legal to grow in the US.

Thanks to the US Farm Bill, which the House passed on Wednesday in a 369 to 47 vote, American farmers will be able to plant and harvest hemp, a strain of the same plant species from which marijuana originates. The bill passed the Senate Tuesday in an 87 to 13 vote, and President Donald Trump signed it into law Thursday evening.

Hemp legalization has been a longtime goal of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Republican from Kentucky, who believes it can help replace tobacco as a key crop for his state's farmers.

The move alters the language of a major drug law that had previously remained unchanged for half a century and loosely defined hemp alongside marijuana as a controlled substance. The new bill exempts hemp from that law and defines it as an agricultural product. That means farmers and researchers of hemp now get some of the same benefits as farmers and researchers of other crops, like the ability to apply for insurance and federal grants.

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