Mitch McConnell Wants to See the Hemp Ban Go Up In Smoke

Senate Republican leader says hemp production would create jobs, not encourage illegal drug use.

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The titans of the budding hemp industry just got another supporter, and a powerful one at that: Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.

It turns out some long talks with his libertarian-minded colleague Rand Paul have led to McConnell’s coming out in favor of industrialized hemp.

In a statement issued Friday, McConnell said, “I am convinced that allowing [hemp] production will be a positive development for Kentucky’s farm families and economy.” He also said he’s been assured by Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner James Comer that legalizing hemp production wouldn't promote illegal drug use.

“The utilization of hemp to produce everything from clothing to paper is real and if there is a capacity to center a new domestic industry in Kentucky that will create jobs in these difficult economic times, that sounds like a good thing to me,” McConnell said.

If industrial hemp were to be legalized in Kentucky, it could be a cash crop. Kentucky's Legislature is preparing to tackle the issue (law enforcement isn't a fan of legalizing industrial hemp production). Paul has also sponsored a bill that would lift the federal ban on growing hemp.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.