McConnell: Time to Legalize Hemp It doesn't mean what you think it means By John Johnson, Newser Staff Posted Feb 15, 2013 5:09 PM CST 77 comments Comments Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite) (Newser) – Mitch McConnell is making a lot of headlines for throwing his support yesterday behind a push to legalize hemp. But he's talking the industrial variety—a farm crop with nowhere near the potency of its marijuana cousin, reports NBC News. McConnell thinks Kentucky farmers should be able to grow the stuff, which is used to make everything from rope to soap, but they can't do so now because the federal government classifies it as an illegal drug on par with heroin and LSD. "McConnell has a point," writes Joel Connelly at the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. "Industrial hemp became legal in Canada in 1998, after a 60-year absence, and has helped revitalize depressed timber towns in British Columbia." Fellow Kentuckian Rand Paul co-sponsored the bill with McConnell, along with Oregon's two Democratic senators. One group opposed: the Kentucky state police, which is worried about a slippery slope to the legalization of pot in the state.