U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles toured GenCanna’s Hemp Research Campus in Winchester, Kentucky on April 23rd. GenCanna, a hemp processor and manufacturer that partners with Kentucky hemp farmers, has been an industry pioneer since the pilot programs Senator McConnell inserted in the 2014 Farm Bill.
“Kentucky is making a hemp comeback thanks to the tireless work of Senator McConnell,” said Matty Mangone-Miranda, CEO of GenCanna. “His work to make hemp legal has opened up an entire new industry in the United States and Kentucky is poised to lead the way.”
“Touring GenCanna’s cutting-edge hemp facility, Commissioner Quarles and I had the chance to see firsthand the innovation happening here in the Bluegrass State,” said Senator McConnell.
“As Senate Majority Leader, I’m proud to ensure Kentucky continues to punch above its weight in Washington. When President Trump signed my legislation to fully legalize hemp and take it off the federal list of controlled substances last December, I knew Kentucky would be at the forefront of hemp production. It didn’t take long for GenCanna to prove me right. The pioneering work done here is advancing hemp’s remarkable potential to grow our economy and create good jobs.”
“I was glad to join Senate Majority Leader McConnell today for a tour of Gencanna, one of the many hemp processors in our state,” Commissioner Quarles said. “Processors are a key component of the Kentucky Department of Agriculture’s strategy to make Kentucky the epicenter of industrial hemp in the United States. With Kentucky licensed processors having reported more than $50 million in gross product sales before the 2018 Farm Bill passed, I’m confident that we are well on our way to achieving our goal of making Kentucky the place to grow and process hemp.”
In collaboration with agriculture leaders in Kentucky and throughout the nation, Senator McConnell secured hemp research pilot programs in the 2014 Farm Bill, which Kentucky continues to operate under today. He also used his position as the senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee to insert provisions in yearly appropriations bills to ensure that hemp produced from the pilot programs could be transported, processed and marketed without interference from the federal government.
Under the guidance of Commissioner Quarles and his predecessor, now-U.S. Representative James Comer (R-KY), these programs have allowed Kentucky farmers to both research the plant and to demonstrate its potential as a viable cash crop.
In December, President Trump signed into law the 2018 Farm Bill, which included Senator McConnell’s initiative to legalize hemp as an agricultural commodity by removing it from the federal list of controlled substances.