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Industrial hemp Photo: Arifoto UG/picture alliance via Getty Images

A provision in the massive farm bill approved by the Senate Wednesday, which is expected to be signed into law by President Trump, would legalize the cultivation of industrial hemp — removing the plant near-identical to marijuana from the list of controlled substances and give growers access to crop insurance.

Why it matters: Sen. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who played a key role to decriminalize the potentially lucrative cash crop, said it would give farmers who are hurting from the loss of tobacco a significant boost. The measure is expected to allow the usage of hemp to produce products for use in construction, health care and manufacturing. For decades, growing hemp without a federal permit was illegal due to its ties to marijuana — even though it has an insignificant amount of psychoactive compound that gets marijuana users high.

Go deeper

Ben Geman, author of Generate
10 mins ago - Energy & Environment

Biden's plan to upend Trump's environmental legacy

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios. Photo by Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images

President-elect Joe Biden will on Wednesday order a government-wide review of over 100 Trump-era policies and direct agencies to prepare a suite of emissions and energy efficiency rules.

Why it matters: New information from transition officials offers the full scope of Biden's imminent, inauguration-day burst of environmental and energy policy moves.

Caitlin Owens, author of Vitals
11 mins ago - Health

The public health presidency

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Joe Biden will take office today facing a challenge none of his modern predecessors have had to reckon with — his legacy will depend largely on how well he handles a once-in-a-century pandemic that's already raging out of control.

The big picture: Public health tends to be relatively apolitical and non-controversial. The limelight in health care politics typically belongs instead to debates over costs and coverage. But that will all change for the Biden administration.

D.C. braces for economic hit from scaled-back inauguration

Photo: Aurora Samperio/NurPhoto via Getty Images

The days leading up to and including Inauguration Day typically generate $31.4 million in additional sales for D.C. businesses — but not this year.

Why it matters: Washington's economy is already suffering from pandemic-induced closures, and could very much use the revelry and tourist dollars that Inauguration Day brings — instead of the large bills that will pile up if there's further mayhem or if visitors continue to stay away.