Could a federal ban on hemp production soon be lifted? One of Americas most powerful Senators is now backing that idea and throwing his support behind a bill that could mean an economic boom for Kentucky. So what exactly is hemp and why was it been banned in the United States in the first place? Fox News' 19's Ben Swann took on the issue and informs of of the reality of hemp and what it could provide Americans and specifically the people of Kentucky.

Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY) issued a statement in which he affirmed that the Federal government needs to lift the ban on hemp, saying:

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"I am convinced that allowing hemp production will be a positive development for Kentucky's farm families and economy."

He also claims that Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner James Comer that legalizing hemp production would not promote illegal drug use.

The United States is the only industrialized nation to ban industrial hemp as an economic crop.

If grown legally in the US, what would hemp be used for? According to Ben Swann it would be used for anything from paper to clothing. In fact, Swann points out that Henry Ford, at one time, actually made a car where the body was actually made out of hemp! In Swann's words, "It was a process similar to fiberglass, but a 'green' version." The First Model T Ford was actually designed to run on hemp gasoline!

A Congressional Service Report from 2005 indicates that more than thirty countries in Europe, Asia, and North America grow hemp.

So why is it banned here in the States? Because Federal law makes no distinctions between marijuana and industrial hemp. Additionally it makes it illegal to grow hemp without a license from the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA).

Furthermore, during the 1970s, congress designated hemp, marijuana and heroin as "Schedule 1" drugs under the Controlled Substances Act, which made it illegal to grow hemp without a license from the DEA.

Swann says the strangest part of the law is that "while it's illegal to grow hemp in the United States, hemp products are sold legally in the form of paper, cosmetics, lotions, auto parts, clothes and animal feed."

These are a direct result of, you guessed it, importation. The U.S. imports more hemp products than any other nation in the world. so legalization could mean jobs, and lots of them!

Until the early 1900s, the State of Kentucky led the nation in hemp production. If the ban were lifted it would open a large market for farmers in Kentucky and other places as well, as well as jobs.

Some would ask, "Yes, but at what cost?"

Swann's answer is,

"Actually, no cost at all, because the real reason it is illegal to grow hemp is because it looks like pot."

While both plants come from the same plant family, marijuana has THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol) content. It takes at least 3% THC in order to get high and marijuana that is used for drug consumption has between 10 and 15 percent THC.

Hemp, on the other hand, has about 0.01-0.03% THC. That basically makes hemp worthless for getting high.

Just because it looks like pot doesn't seem like a good idea to ban the product in the first place, does it?

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