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Resolution asks Congress to remove hemp from definition of marijuana

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FRANKFORT—Legislation asking Congress to remove hemp from the definition of marijuana in the federal Controlled Substances Act has cleared a House committee.

House Concurrent Resolution 35 sponsor Rep. DJ Johnson, R-Owensboro, told the House Elections, Constitutional Amendments and Intergovernmental Affairs Committee that hemp has proven economically viable since a hemp research pilot project began here in 2014. Hemp production increased from 33 acres in 2014 to 3,200 acres in 2017, according to HCR 35, with nearly 50 hemp processors now operating in the state.

“It’s becoming obvious it would be a great help to the state of Kentucky” for Congress to remove hemp from the definition of marijuana under federal law, Johnson told the panel.

Kentucky amended its Controlled Substances Act in 2017 to exclude many hemp products from the state definition of marijuana.

As a concurrent resolution, HCR 35 would not become state law if passed by both the House and Senate. It would instead be a message forwarded to both Congress and the White House.

The legislation now goes to the full House for its consideration.

Pictured is a female industrial hemp plant, photo by MDA.

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