The Cannabis Catch-Up: Will the Feds Legalize Hemp Cultivation? By Sasha Goldstein
Vermont legalized the cultivation of hemp in 2013 and several states have followed suit in the years since.
One of those was Kentucky, the home state of U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky). The Bluegrass State legalized the plant in 2014 and and now ranks third in the country for the most acres of hemp under cultivation. And wouldn’t you know it, McConnell is reportedly ready to allow all states to decide whether to legalize the stuff — even though it’s still illegal on the federal level. He wants to include a provision in this year's farm bill to leave it up to states to create their own programs.
“Hemp has played a foundational role in Kentucky’s agricultural heritage, and I believe that it can be an important part of our future,” McConnell said on Monday, according to Politico. "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.”
Hemp has incredible utility, and in Vermont, production has skyrocketed as interest grows in cannabidiol (CBD), a hemp extract considered to have medicative qualities. Federal legalization would eliminate the threat of law enforcement action against growers, but could also have other impacts on Vermont’s hemp market. The farm bill must be passed by the end of September.