Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on Tuesday told reporters he has no plan to support the legalization of marijuana as he pushes an effort to legalize hemp.
“I do not have any plans to endorse the legalization of marijuana,” he said, adding that marijuana and hemp are “two entirely separate plants.”
The top Republican introduced a measure in March to legalize hemp, taking it off the federal list of controlled substances and allowing it to be sold as an agricultural product.
Hemp has small amounts of THC, the main psychoactive component of marijuana.
“It is a different plant. It has an illicit cousin which I choose not to embrace,” McConnell said of hemp on Tuesday.
Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) announced last month a plan to decriminalize marijuana at the federal level, removing it from the list of federally controlled substances and instead allowing states to regulate the drug.
Marijuana has been legalized in some form in 30 states and Washington, D.C. Recreational use of the drug is permitted in nine states and D.C.