Oregon Senators' Hemp Bill Would Give States Control

Apr 13, 2018


Hemp farming regulations would fall in the state’s hands under a bill introduced by Oregon’s senators Thursday. 


States that want to regulate hemp farming could do so under a bill backed by Oregon senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley. Hemp is currently listed as a federally controlled substance. Wyden wants that to change. 

“Right now hemp is considered a schedule 1 drug grouped alongside heroine, LSD and ecstasy," Wyden told JPR. "This just defies common sense because nobody is going to get high on hemp.” 

Hemp is a cannabis plant related to marijuana but has very low levels of the chemicals that get you high. The bill would remove hemp from the controlled substance list. It would also open up grant funding for hemp research and provide crop insurance for farmers. 

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell — a Republican from Kentucky — also threw his weight behind the bill. McConnell helped legalize hemp cultivation for research purposes through the  Agricultural Act of 2014. Kentucky has since led the country in hemp cultivation, alongside Colorado and Tennessee. Wyden says Oregon has the potential to join them. 


“We do a lot of thing well in Oregon, but what we do best is grow things,” Wyden said. “We ought to give our farmers every opportunity to grow things, to add value to those things and to ship them somewhere.”