House Ignores DEA Objections To Vote for Eased Restrictions on Hemp

Don't get excited. It was an amendment to the DOA farm bill.


WASHINGTON—The House of Representatives on Thursday overcame last-minute lobbying from the Drug Enforcement Administration to pass a farm bill amendment that would legalize the growing of hemp for research purposes. The 225-200 vote came after a flurry of opposition from the DEA, which argued that it would be too difficult for the agency to differentiate legal hemp from illegal marijuana, both varieties of the cannabis plant.

The House amendment, proposed by Reps. Jared Polis (D-Colo.), Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) and Thomas Massie (R-Ky.), is far more modest than a Senate effort by Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to fully legalize growing hemp for industrial purposes. McConnell had hoped to have his measure inserted into the underlying farm bill or approved on a simple voice vote, but neither path proved open.