McConnell, Paul back push to legalize hemp production

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Updated: 2/15/2013 4:43 pm
WASHINGTON D.C. (KRNV, & -- Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R - Ky., teamed up yesterday with Democrats -- Oregon Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley -- to cosponsor a bill that would allow American farmers to grow hemp without punishment, according to Republican Sen. Rand Paul also supports the motion.

MSNBC reports that the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce supports legalization, but some law enforcement groups say it is a step that could lead to the legalization of marijuana.

McConnell's push to legalize hemp follows the action in the Kentucky state Senate, which voted Thursday to legalize hemp production there if the federal government also says that it's legal. McConnell says hemp production would create jobs in tough economic times.

Hemp is a variety of Cannabis sativa, the plant species that also produces marijuana.

People who support legalizing hemp say it can be used in soap, cosmetics, and rope for sailboats and other watercraft. Farmers also say hemp twine is much stronger than other rope used to bind bales of hay.

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