In what is considered a surprise move, Pennsylvania is rolling out the welcome wagon for industrial hemp production, writes Anthony Salamone for the Allentown Morning Call.
Hemp has a number of potential applications. Beauty products, clothing, building materials, energy storage devices for electronics, and 3D printing are among the many.
Last week, the state submitted a plan to the U.S. Department of Agriculture to allow full commercial industrial hemp production, according to State Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding. This comes after the passing of the federal farm bill in December, which removed industrial hemp from regulation under the federal Controlled Substances Act.
The state’s Agriculture Department already had a research-based plan for hemp under way at the time. But with no federal rules in place that would dictate how the legalization would work, the department said it was too late to change course for 2019.
However, according to Redding, the state now plans to reopen its 2019 program to include commercial growing operations applications and remove the caps of 100 acres for both current and new applications.
“Pennsylvania’s story is shaped by agriculture and the products that help grow the commonwealth,” said Redding, “and industrial hemp presents an exciting new chapter in that story.”
Read more about industrial hemp production in the Allentown Morning Call by clicking here.