By Caitlin Dewey
Lawmakers are poised to fully legalize hemp after a decades-long campaign, setting the stage for the resurgence of a once-common crop that disappeared during the war on drugs.
The legalization provision, championed by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and included in the Senate’s farm bill, would officially classify hemp as an agricultural commodity and remove it from the federal controlled substances list. Lawmakers are also expected to advance the measure when they meet next month to draft the final, bicameral version of the legislation.
Hemp landed on the list because it is, like marijuana, a form of the cannabis plant. But growers and farm-state politicians argue the two have been unfairly lumped together, depriving farmers of what could one day become a major commodity crop.
In Kentucky, in particular, hemp has been touted as a panacea for cratering tobacco sales and falling crop prices. Growers there have pinned their hopes for future profits on it. But as legalization looks ever more ine