McConnell Inserts Hemp Provision Into Senate Farm Appropriations Bill
On July 16, 2015, by a 28-2 vote, the United States Senate Appropriations Committee approved the Agriculture, Rural, Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Appropriation Bill (S.1800) for fiscal year 2016. This bill, commonly referred to as the Federal Farm Bill, supports agriculture cooperative conservation and rural community programs implemented by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).
U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell inserted a provision into the Senate farm appropriations bill aimed at making it easier to process industrial hemp. The measure would help farmers transport hemp between states so the crop can be developed for commercial purposes.
“Kentucky’s industrial hemp pilot programs continue to prosper, and I want to make sure our legal hemp producers can safely transport their crops between states, including to states that maintain processing facilities, so they can fully capitalize on the commercial potential for this commodity” – McConnell, R-Louisville, said in a news release from his Washington office
State Agriculture Commissioner James Comer said the provision was vital to developing a thriving hemp industry in the state.
“The ability of Kentucky to research the full potential of industrial hemp through processing, marketing and sales is vital to understanding the future possibilities for industrial hemp”
McConnell worked last month with Sens. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., and Jon Tester, D-Mont., to insert language in the Senate Commerce, Justice and Science Appropriations bill to ensure that legal industrial hemp pilot programs, such as those in Kentucky, can continue without federal disruption.
(Sec. 739) Prohibits funds provided by this bill from being used in contravention of a provision of the Agricultural Act of 2014 that permits an institution of higher education or a state department of agriculture to grow or cultivate industrial hemp for research purposes.
The hemp provisions this year build on McConnell’s work in last year’s farm bill, which gave state agricultural commissioners and universities the federal authority to cultivate industrial hemp for pilot programs. Companies like Atalo Holdings Inc. and GenCanna (Pictured above) are building businesses around Kentucky under Section 7606 of the 2014 Federal Farm Bill.
SOURCE : Kentucky.com
IMAGES : Newsweek
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