Kentucky Congressman Brett Guthrie is expressing support for legalizing hemp for commercial use. The comments come as Senator Mitch McConnell announced this week that he will introduce a bill that would legalize hemp as an agricultural commodity.
Hemp is currently classified as a controlled substance because of its cousin, marijuana.
Speaking in Bowling Green Monday, Guthrie said he could support McConnell’s legislation if it satisfies law enforcement.
"Hemp and marijuana are not the same, but they look similar, so they want to have opportunities if someone is growing marijuana and says it's hemp, they have the right to check that," said Guthrie.
Guthrie said he thinks the legalization of hemp has a decent chance of passing Congress. He said lawmakers have become more educated on the plant in recent years.
The 2014 federal Farm Bill allowed state agriculture departments to grow hemp for research. So far, 34 states have approved the pilot projects.
With Congress on a two-week recess, Representative Guthrie is holding town halls across Kentucky’s 2nd District. Other public events are scheduled for next week in Radcliff, Danville, and Owensboro.