The impending end of the Republican majority in the House of Representatives has increased the likelihood of hemp legalization this year by smoothing the way for passage of a Farm Bill.
Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell ensured that full legalization of hemp cultivation would be part of his chamber’s version of this year’s Farm Bill, which includes everything from food stamp authorization to subsidies for farmers. But the House did not include such language in their version. McConnell, a Republican from Kentucky and hemp’s most powerful ally on Capitol Hill, has promised that legalization will be part of a final bill being negotiated.
But House Republicans have held up those Farm Bill negotiations, not because they care one way or another about hemp, but because they want to make it more difficult for people to get food stamps. They have tied passage of the bill to stricter food stamp requirement.
Now that those House Republicans will be in the minority soon, they may have less incentive to hang tough on food stamps, and more inclination to get on with passing the Farm Bill.
According to Hemp Business Journal:
Now that the GOP opposition faces a Democratic majority next session, Rep. Collin Peterson (D-Minn.) believes that House Republicans may be more willing to compromise. As the ranking Democratic member and presumptive incoming chairman of the House Agriculture Committee, Peterson sees passage as an imperative.
“I want this done. I don’t want this farm bill to be on my plate when I become chairman,” Peterson said in a radio interview. “Now [with] what’s happened with the election, the leverage, whatever leverage they did have on the SNAP stuff, I don’t see that they have any leverage anymore.”
Peterson added during the interview that he has plans to meet with the current agriculture committee chair, Rep. Mike Conaway (R-Texas), to hash out the details of a compromise bill. Before Congress left for recess, Conaway and Peterson, along with the Senate agriculture committee chairman, Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), had a tentative agreement to have a compromise bill ready by November 14, though it is unclear whether they will meet that deadline.