Last week, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced he will introduce legislation to legalize industrial hemp.
He is not concerning himself with marijuana, which is what we call the plant Cannabis sativa when cultivated for its Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) content, the principal chemical in the plant that makes it ideal for “recreational” (and other) uses. Industrial hemp is Cannabis sativa, too, just with minuscule THC.
Actually, he insists that “hemp” and “marijuana” are more than merely distinct: “I think we’ve worked our way through the education process of making sure everybody understands this is really a different plant,” he said.
Well, I guess that is one way to sell a bill. But it is not quite believable. While “hemp” as an industrial product is not the same as “marijuana” as a recreational-medicinal drug, the two are not separate species. You cannot tell them apart without some chemical analysis.