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Hemp Forms Bipartisan Ties Between Wyden, McConnell

One normally doesn’t expect to see politicians like U.S. Senator Ron Wyden teaming up with polar opposites like Senator Mitch McConnell.

But if there’s one thing that binds the Oregon Democrat and the Kentucky Republican together, it’s hemp.  Both championed legalization and acceptance of hemp in the latest Farm Bill, which takes effect this year.

Wyden says in Oregon, there are hundreds of farmers who’ve expressed interest in growing hemp, and its potential economic clout.

"For example, a derivative of the hemp product known as CBD is often considered as something of great benefit from a health standpoint," he says.  "I’m still leading the fight at the Food and Drug Administration to get them to sort it out, to deal with regulations from the Department of Agriculture.”

For decades, hemp has often been confused with marijuana which hurt its industry appeal. But they differ by the amount of THC they contain, the chemical that can produce a “high” when ingested. 

Copyright 2019, KLCC.

Brian Bull is an assistant professor of journalism at the University of Oregon, and remains a contributor to the KLCC news department. He began working with KLCC in June 2016.   In his 27+ years as a public media journalist, he's worked at NPR, Twin Cities Public Television, South Dakota Public Broadcasting, Wisconsin Public Radio, and ideastream in Cleveland. His reporting has netted dozens of accolades, including four national Edward R. Murrow Awards (22 regional),  the Ohio Associated Press' Best Reporter Award, Best Radio Reporter from  the Native American Journalists Association, and the PRNDI/NEFE Award for Excellence in Consumer Finance Reporting.
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