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The Republican made the announcement in his home state of Kentucky, which has been at the forefront of hemp's comeback.

Senator McConnell took the first step to support hemp in 2014 by using his leadership position in the Senate to spearhead a provision to legalize hemp pilot programs in the Farm Bill.

CBDs, or cannabidiols, are molecular compounds in hemp products that are believed to have pain-relieving effects.

McConnell said he plans to emphasize the differences between the plants to Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

While speaking in his home state of Kentucky Monday, Sen. Kentucky once had more tobacco farmers than any other state, but McConnell helped wean them off tobacco in 2004 with a bill that ended federal support for the crop and compensated them for their federal production quotas.

Production of hemp has soared since states have started to legalize cannabis, and its set to become a billion dollar industry.

Over 30 states, including IN during Mike Pence's reign as governor, have passed laws to pilot hemp cultivation IN response to an Obama-era measure that defined hemp as a crop distinct from marijuana.

So far, 34 states have authorized hemp research and 19 have production programs, Bruce Schreinerreports for The Associated Press.

Hemp has been grown for centuries and has a range of uses, including as clothes, paper, rope, food, and even as an industrial building block.

In Pennsylvania, the Department of Agriculture in February approved 39 research projects that will allow cultivation of about 1,000 acres of marijuana's non-psychoactive cousin.

"All we've got to do is the government get out of the way and let us grow", he told reporters. The Trump administration has taken a tougher stance on marijuana.

"Industrial hemp is the next big thing in Kentucky", Keith Taylor, chief operating officer at KRB, said at the groundbreaking ceremony. It builds upon the success we have seen through the hemp pilot programs by allowing states to be the primary regulators of hemp if the U.S. Department of Agriculture approves their implementation plan.

"I will be introducing when I go back to senate a week from today", a bill he said would "finally legalize hemp as an agricultural commodity and remove it from the list of controlled substances". Ron Wyden of OR, the second largest hemp producer; U.S. Rep. James Comer, R-Ky., is sponsoring a companion House bill, reports WKYT-TV of Lexington.


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