Updated July 9, 2018
Since its introduction in March, the hemp community has kept a close eye on the movement of the Hemp Farming Act of 2018. If passed, the legislation would explicitly legalize hemp and expand opportunities for hemp businesses.
This timeline follows the progression of this legislation. We will continue to make updates as new action takes place.
SENATOR MITCH MCCONNEL ANNOUNCES PLAN TO LEGALIZE HEMP
March 26, 2018
During a speech in Frankfort, Kentucky, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) announced his plan to introduce a bill to legalize hemp. Titled the Hemp Farming Act of 2018, the proposed legislation would legalize hemp as an “agricultural commodity” and remove it from the list of controlled substances.
SENATORS INTRODUCE THE HEMP FARMING ACT OF 2018
April 12, 2018
Senators Mitch McConnell, Ron Wyden (D-OR), and Jeff Merkley (D-OR) introduced the Hemp Farming Act of 2018. Titled Senate Bill 2667, the legislation would clarify the legality of hemp. The Hemp Farming Act of 2018 leaves no room for interpretation, stating:
“The term ‘hemp’ means the plant Cannabis sativa L. and any part of that plant, including the seeds thereof and all derivatives, extracts, cannabinoids, isomers, acids, salts and salts of isomers, whether growing or not, with a delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol concentration of not more than 0.3 percent on a dry weight basis.”
If passed, the Hemp Farming Act would also:
- Remove hemp and hemp derivatives from the list of controlled substances
- Give states the opportunity to become the primary regulators of hemp
- Allow hemp researchers to apply for federal grants from the U.S. Department of Agriculture
- Remove restrictions on items such as banking access and water rights
- Make USDA research funding available to farmers
- Allow farmers to apply for crop insurance
House Bill 5485, a companion to SB 2667, was also introduced by Representatives James Comer (R-KY) and Jared Polis (D-CO).
Watch Senator McConnell introduce the Hemp Farming Act here.
THE SENATE AGRICULTURAL COMMITTEE RELEASES FARM BILL
June 8, 2018
The U.S. Senate Agriculture Committee released the current version of the Farm Bill and, as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell promised, it included the Hemp Farming Act of 2018. As currently drafted, hemp would be permanently removed from the Controlled Substances Act.
SENATOR CHUCK GRASSLEY INTRODUCES AMENDMENT
June 12, 2018
Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) introduced an amendment to the Farm Bill of 2018 that excludes cannabinoids such as CBD from the definition of hemp. The amendment proposes hemp-derived CBD should remain a controlled substance under DEA oversight. Fortunately, Grassley never ended up filing a floor amendment.
FARM BILL PASSES THE SENATE AGRICULTURAL COMMITTEE
June 13, 2018
The Farm Bill passed the Senate Agriculture Committee by a 20-1 vote. The bill moved to the Senate floor.
You can watch the video of the conversation between Senator Grassley and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell here (skip over to the 2:08 mark).
FARM BILL PASSES IN THE SENATE
June 28, 2018
The Farm Bill is passed in the Senate by a vote of 86 – 11. The bill included all the Hemp Farming Act, including the permanent legalization of hemp and products such as hemp-derived CBD.
A House/Senate conference committee will meet to resolve the differences between the Senate Farm Bill and the House Farm Bill (the latter includes no hemp language.) Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell will be leading the fight to ensure that the conference committee retains the hemp-friendly Senate language before it gets sent back to the House and Senate floors for final passage.