Update: 5:45 p.m.
The measure, co-authored as well by Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) and Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.), would permit colleges, universities and state agriculture agencies to grow and experiment on the crop with impunity in states that have legalized industrial hemp. The House passed the five-year, $500 billion farm bill with a vote of 251 to 166.
On Tuesday, the Senate voted 68 to 32 to pass the bill, with hefty support from Oregon Democrats Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley and from Kentucky Republicans Rand Paul and Mitch McConnell. President Barack Obama is expected to sign it into law over the next few days.
"The farm bill, if passed, could prove to be one of the most exciting moves Congress makes this year, with big benefits for our economy, medical patients and businesses," said Alan Brochstein, founder of 420 Investor, a pot stock subscription service.
Consider this a particular boon for states where industrial hemp cultivation is legal: Colorado, Oregon, California, Kentucky, Vermont, Montana, West Virginia, North Dakota and Maine. Hemp cultivation is still federally illegal, but the farm bill would prevent feds from actively pursuing farmers and researchers growing it.
Colorado State University could become a hub for hemp development and advancement, Colorado Congressman Polis said, without having to fear being stripped of grant money. Northern Colorado on the whole could be a center of domestic industrial hemp production.
Industrial hemp, which only has a modest amount of the narcotic tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) found in marijuana, is used in products like rope, clothes and auto parts. Because of the legal strictures surrounding the plant, the hemp used in U.S. products comes from abroadnamely Canada and Turkey.