WASHINGTON — U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell announced today that an amendment he authored with Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR) regarding legal industrial hemp cultivation pilot projects at universities was approved by the Senate Appropriations Committee and is now included in the Commerce, Justice, Science Appropriations bill.

The McConnell/Merkley hemp amendment passed overwhelmingly (22-8) in committee. Congressman Thomas Massie (KY-04) secured an identical version in the CJS bill passed by the House of Representatives last week.

The McConnell/Merkley amendment provides that no funds can be used by federal agencies in violation of Senator McConnell’s provision in the 2014 Farm Bill, which gave state agricultural commissioners, such as Kentucky’s James Comer, the go ahead to cultivate hemp for pilot programs.

“This measure will help prevent our legal hemp seeds secured by state Departments of Agriculture and used for legal pilot programs from being blocked by DEA or other federal agencies in the future,” Senator McConnell said. “These legal pilot programs authorized by my legislation could help boost our state’s economy and lead to future jobs.”

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