Should hemp be legalized?
via AP

Should hemp be legalized?

#LegalizeHempNow
#KeepHempBanned
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Mitch McConnell is introducing a bill that would remove hemp from the controlled substance list, effectively legalizing it as an "agricultural commodity." Industrial hemp is a half-billion dollar industry, and cannabidiol (CBD) is used to make everything from oil to home insulation products. Many argue hemp shouldn't have been considered a Schedule I drug in the first place, but the DEA argues hemp's relationship to it's "illicit cousin" marijuana means it should remain banned. What do you think? 🌿

THE VOTES ARE IN!
#LegalizeHempNow
85.7%
#KeepHempBanned
14.3%

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is planning to introduce a bill that would remove hemp from the controlled substance list. McConnell has helped create federal and state permissions for hemp in the past due to its agricultural value in his home state of Kentucky. 

"I just had an opportunity to see some interesting and innovative products, some of which you see here on the table, made with Kentucky-grown hemp," he said while speaking at Frankfort, Kentucky, on Monday. "Sunstrand, based in Louisville, contracts with farmers in Henry County to grow hemp that they process into a number of consumer products including home insulation."
"Imagine, instead of pink fiberglass, we could use Kentucky grown, environmentally sustainable hemp to insulate our houses. This represents just one many uses that Kentuckians are finding for this versatile crop."

McConnell was sure to clarify the difference between hemp and it's "illicit cousin" marijuana. CBD, the non-psychoactive cannabinoid element derived from cannabis plants, can be found in everything from lip balm to home insulation products. It's just common sense, hemp should be legalized nationwide.

But the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) doesn't agree. In December 2016, the DEA announced a new code for marijuana extract that categorized all cannabinoids–compounds derived from the cannabis plant–as Schedule I drugs. Previously, the hemp industry only made products using CBD and was fine excluding THC, the psychoactive compound in marijuana. The DEA rule conflates both compounds, essentially treating hemp in the same way the DEA treats marijuana.

The DEA's move had the country's industrial hemp industry up in arms. This half-billion dollar industry was fine making products that didn't include THC, the active psychoactive compound in pot, but they had built quite a business around cannabidiol (CBD), a common non-psychoactive cannabinoid found in products from lip balm to nutritional supplements and oils. Under this DEA rule, hemp companies would be actively flouting federal law by farming industrial hemp – something they've been able to do since 2014, when the Farm Bill finally exempted hemp from the controlled substances act.

Others argue hemp isn't the miracle material everyone has hyped it up to be. As Dan Mitchell lays out in Modern Farmer, hemp is a labor-intensive crop that requires a lot of water and exceptionally nutrient-dense soil. Those pushing for hemp products are mostly just stoners looking to push their larger agenda of legalizing marijuana. 

[Hemp] requires a relatively large amount of water, and its need for deep, humus-rich, nutrient-dense soil limits growing locales. And hemp cultivation is highly labor-intensive... That’s one reason prices are so high–about six times the cost of wood pulp. Hemp is an annual crop, which means it must be stored in order to be processed throughout the year, further adding to the cost of using it–and to the incentive for using something else.
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