Both the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate have passed the 2018 Farm Bill which includes a provision to legalize hemp throughout the country.
The 2018 Farm Bill was passed by the House today by a vote of 369 to 47. The vote comes a day after the Senate approved the same bill 87 to 13. Now that it’s been passed by the full Congress it will be sent to President Trump, who has said he will sign it into law once given the opportunity.
The legislation is a wide-reaching bill that covers many facets of the farming industry. A provision in the measure, put forth by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnel, removes hemp from the federal list of controlled substances. This effectively legalizes it throughout the country, allowing farmers to grow it as they can any other agricultural commodity such as tomatoes.
Once the law takes effect hemp will become legal for the first time in decades.
According to congressional research, the hemp market consists of over 25,000 various products ranging from textiles to food products. The United States imports roughly half a billion dollars in hemp each year from other countries, yet retains the illegality of its cultivation among its own farmers. Despite federal law, 34 states have passed some type of policy allowing hemp to be cultivated at the state level, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.