Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin) gave a surprise endorsement on Tuesday to industrial hemp and cannabidiol (CBD), the widely-touted cannabis ingredient that is growing increasingly mainstream as an alternative medicine.
First reported by Marijuana Moment, Ryan addressed the issue while campaigning in Kentucky for his colleague Rep. Andy Barr (R-Kentucky).
It may be cathartic to see top GOP lawmakers in both bodies of Congress endorsing industrial hemp and now CBD, but Ryan stopped short of embracing any true medical cannabis reforms. In fact, he couldn’t even remember the name for CBD (an audience member eventually shouted it out for him) but he remembered the issue.
“It has proven to work. We do this in Wisconsin. That, that oil, I think works well. And that is not medical marijuana. There’s no THC in that oil, which helps reduce seizures. ” — Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin), during a Kentucky campaign rally
Note: most CBD concoctions do contain trace amounts of THC, but usually not enough to get high.
Ryan also used the opportunity to briefly speak about his party’s legislative gains this year — specifically the Right to Try Act, which was passed and signed into federal law earlier this year and which appears to open the door for terminally ill patients to experimental medications, including cannabis and perhaps MDMA or psilocybin.
Shortly thereafter, Ryan moved on to discuss industrial hemp — which has been championed by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) as the cash crop to revitalize the South’s agricultural economy.
“By the way, there’s a lot of industrial uses for hemp that I understand from talking to Mitch McConnell is a big deal to Kentucky agriculture,” Ryan said. “And we’re all in favor of that as well.”
Hemp farmers and industry enthusiasts have been waiting with baited breath to see the final reconciliation of the 2018 Farm Bill, into which Sen. McConnell slipped language that would federally legalize industrial hemp.
Now, with both of the top GOP lawmakers having endorsed the issue, it appears even more likely that hemp legalization will succeed.