Industrial Hemp Legislation First Pushed By Ron Paul Could Drop in Senate Next WeekSubmitted by legalizeliberty on Fri, 02/08/2013 - 21:12
Has Capitol Hill suddenly gone green?
Just a day after Democratic Rep. Jared Polis of Colorado introduced legislation to decriminalize marijuana, Republican Rep. Thomas Massie of Kentucky introduced another bill Thursday in support of industrial hemp, currently illegal in the U.S. because it comes from the same plant as marijuana.
And now, Sen. Rand Paul's office tells Whispers it could introduce companion legislation in the Senate "as soon as next week."
In late January, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said he'd throw his support behind industrial hemp, a surprise endorsement from the long-time opponent of marijuana. McConnell cited conversations he'd had with Paul, and the Huffington Post's Ryan Grim points out the change came after the Kentucky senator hired Jesse Benton to run his 2014 re-election campaign. Benton is the former campaign manager of Paul's father, former Texas congressman and presidential candidate Ron Paul.
[READ: Marijuana Decriminalization Bill Hits House]
Ron Paul is seen as the father of industrial hemp on Capitol Hill, having first sponsored a bill in the House in the 2005, and then introducing a similar bill every two years for the rest of his tenure. The first bill Paul introduced got 11 cosponsors, and each year the number climbed higher. His last bill, in 2011, had 37 cosponsors.
Vote Hemp, the main group lobbying in Washington for industrial hemp, credits Ron Paul for the sea change on Capitol Hill as well.