While most Republican members of Congress have been lukewarm at best to the prospect of legalizing marijuana, senators introduced a bipartisan measure this week to legalize industrial hemp. Riding on the passage of a recent Kentucky Senate bills to ease hemp growing, the state’s Republican senators, Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul joined Oregon Democratic Senators Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden in introducing a bill to legalize production of the strain of cannabis used in the production of goods.
Hemp is a plant in the cannabis family with significantly lower levels of the psychoactive component, THC, than most varieties that are smoked or consumed. It is used to make textiles, paper, paints, clothing, plastics, cosmetics, foodstuffs, insulation, animal feed and other products, according to NORML. Hemp is nonetheless lumped in with all other cannabis products, which are classified as Schedule I under the Controlled Substances Act, the most restrictive of the five schedules designated for those substances considered dangerous with no currently accepted medical value.
The federal bill would classify hemp as a regular plant as long as the THC content was low enough, and Kentucky seems to be pretty eager to be among the first states to cash in on hemp, along with Oregon. Now, for Mitch the Turtle to go along with it, there's got to be some ridiculous profit in it for him, and bringing hemp-based industries to the state at least would be the first thing Mitch has done in years to actually create jobs instead of shipping them to Ohio, Indiana, or China.
We'll see where this all goes.