‘Cocaine Mitch’ McConnell Shifts His Focus to Hemp During Lame-Duck | NTK Network ‘Cocaine Mitch’ McConnell Shifts His Focus to Hemp During Lame-Duck

‘Cocaine Mitch’ McConnell Shifts His Focus to Hemp During Lame-Duck

Non-intoxicating hemp, a close cousin of marijuana, is an industry ripe for growth in Kentucky, and the Senate majority leader is looking to remove it from a “controlled substances” list.

By NTK Staff | 11.29.2018 @10:00am
‘Cocaine Mitch’ McConnell Shifts His Focus to Hemp During Lame-Duck

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) is hoping to remove hemp, a non-intoxicating cousin to marijuana, from the federal government’s list of controlled substances during the lame-duck session of Congress next month.

The move will likely be part of the long-negotiated farm bill, a proposal expected to cost $900 billion over 10 years, that Republicans and Democrats have been working on for months. It also has strong backers in McConnell’s home state of Kentucky.

Kentucky has emerged as a leader in developing a hemp industry and as a place where legalizing the crop went from a fringe issue to a mainstream cause. Fellow Kentucky Republican Sen. Rand Paul and Republican U.S. Reps. Thomas Massie and James Comer are strong supporters, too.

But it’s McConnell’s backing that has put the long-banned crop on the verge of winning a full pardon.

Growing hemp without a permit was banned decades ago, according to the Associated Press. That was due to its classification as a controlled substance closely related to marijuana. But hemp has “negligible amount of THC, the psychoactive compound that gives marijuana users a high.” And that’s the reason advocates believe it should no longer be classified as a controlled substance.

The crop was historically used for rope but has many other uses, including clothing and mulch from the fiber; hemp milk and cooking oil from the seeds; and soap and lotions. Other uses include building materials, animal bedding and biofuels. Hemp-derived cannabidiol, or CBD oil, as a health product has become an increasingly large market.

Hemp advocates are optimistic that McConnell, who earned the nickname “Cocaine Mitch” earlier this year from ex-convict and failed West Virginia Senate candidate Don Blankenship, will be able to get the hemp provision across the finish line.

“We are very fortunate to have Sen. McConnell as our top advocate in Congress,” said the president of hemp advocacy group Vote Hemp.

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