Senator McConnell and Commissioner Quarles Announce Hemp Legislation

03/26/2018 02:10 PM

FRANKFORT- U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, joined Commissioner Ryan Quarles in Frankfort on Monday to announce new legislation to support Kentucky’s hemp industry.

The Hemp Farming Act of 2018 would legalize hemp as an agricultural commodity and remove it from the list of controlled substances.

“Hemp has played a foundational role in Kentucky’s agricultural heritage and I believe that it can be an important part of our future. I am grateful to join our Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles in this effort. He and his predecessor, Jamie Comer, have been real champions for the research and development of industrial hemp in the Commonwealth. The work of Commissioner Quarles here in Kentucky has become a nationwide example for the right way to cultivate hemp. I am proud to stand here with him today, because I believe that we are ready to take the next step and build upon the successes we’ve seen with Kentucky’s hemp pilot program,” said Sen. McConnell.

The Hemp Farming Act of 2018 builds upon the pilot program created in the 2014 farm bill, which allows states to be the primary regulators of hemp, if the U.S. Department of Agriculture approves the implementation process. The legislation would also remove federal regulations and allow hemp researchers to apply for federal grants from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

“Here in Kentucky, we have built the best industrial hemp research pilot program in the county and have established a model for how other states can do the same with buy-in from growers, processors, and law enforcement. I want to thank Leader McConnell for introducing this legislation which allows us to harness the economic viability of this crop and presents the best opportunity to put hemp on a path to commercialization.” said Commissioner Quarles.

Sen. McConnell says he plans on filing the legislation when he returns to Washington in two weeks. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Kentucky, will be a co-sponsor of the measure.

Michon Lindstrom

Michon is a producer for Pure Politics. Michon comes to Kentucky from Springfield, Illinois where she served as the statehouse reporter for the NBC affiliate. During her time in the Land of Lincoln she covered the state’s two year budget impasse and the largest school funding overall in Illinois history. Pure Politics airs weeknights at 7 and 11:30 on Spectrum News. Follow Michon on Twitter at @MichonLindstrom or reach her by email at


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