Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, the senior senator from Kentucky, and Sen. Rand Paul have been fighting hard behind the scenes to get a provision included in Congress’s farm bill that would legalize the industrial production hemp, the innocuous close relative of marijuana.
In fact, hemp legalization seems to possess broad support in the state of Kentucky, which passed its own legalization law this April. Earlier this month, the state’s commissioner of agriculture, James Comer — who is also a Republican — came to Washington early this month to lobby for the provision, meeting with House Majority Leader John Boehner among others.
But just adding it to the bill has not been easy for the senators. What usually could be easily added by propositioning the proper committee has been blocked by the Democratic committee leaders, Sen. Debbie Stabenow of Michigan on the Senate Committee on Agriculture and Sen. Patrick Leahy, Vermont, on the Senate Judiciary Committee. This forces the provision to be put on the floor next week when Congress votes on the farm bill.
So is this a political move by the Democrats to corner McConnell or is McConnell’s support of this provision, just posturing to safeguard his election prospects?
Host Carmen Russell-Sluchansky spoke with Janet Patton, a reporter for the Lexigton-Herald Leader, to find out.