December 12, 2018

US Farm Bill, Which Would Legalize Hemp, Heads to Trump’s Desk

The US House has easily passed the farm bill, a massive legislative package that reauthorizes agriculture programs and food aid. The legislation has already passed the Senate and is now headed to President Donald Trump, who is expected to sign it.

While the federal government aims to pass a new farm bill every year, the latest version is unique: It contains a provision that would legalize hemp and regulate it under the US Department of Agriculture, much like any other crop. The bill also reauthorizes agriculture and conservation programs, funds trade programs, and expands support for struggling dairy farmers.

Wednesday’s House vote was a decisive 369-47.

The provision involving industrial hemp—defined by law as cannabis plants containing no more than 0.3% THC by weight—allows US farmers to grow, process, and sell the plant and its products. The provision was championed in part by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Republican whose home state of Kentucky has long history of hemp production that’s recently flourished under a federally approved pilot program in place since 2014.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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