Hemp Bill Passes in PA House

By on April 8, 2016

HEMPGeoff Whaling, President of the Pennsylvania Hemp Industry Council:

“Today’s vote is an indication that our Pennsylvania Legislature acknowledges that this crop has an important role to play in the economy of our State. Its passage in the Senate last month followed be this vote today shows that PA’s leadership is serious about returning this crop to our farmlands. The Bill should move to the Senate Rules Committee for a concurrence vote later this week and then off to the Governor’s desk or signature”.

A new law aimed at allowing the production of industrial hemp passed the state House unanimously on Wednesday. The legislation introduced by Rep. Russ Diamond (R-Lebanon) that would create an agricultural pilot

program in Pennsylvania for industrial hemp research today unanimously passed the Pennsylvania House. The bill now heads to the Senate for further consideration.

Hemp1

Photo from http://livefreelivenatural.com/

Diamond’s proposal (House Bill 967) would permit industrial hemp to be grown or cultivated in special research and development programs administered by the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture and the state’s institutions of higher learning.
“We put a lot of effort into educating other legislators about the usefulness of this crop and its positive economic and environmental promises for Pennsylvania,” said Diamond. “While the passage of House Bill 967 is cause for some celebration, we still have a lot of work ahead of us to get the Senate to concur, the governor to sign it into law, and to create a hemp industry from scratch. This is the very first step on what I hope to be very long and prosperous journey for the people of this Commonwealth.”

Hemp was banned across the country in 1937, along with marijuana. Currently it’s legal to use hemp here, but not to grow it.

Photo from urbanfifth.com/

Photo from urbanfifth.com/

Pennsylvania once led the nation in industrial hemp production, and the plant was widely grown nationwide for use in many products. In an overreaching attempt to fight marijuana use, the federal government outlawed industrial hemp in the 1930s, misidentifying it as an intoxicating plant.

After numerous studies demonstrated the safety of industrial hemp, and to remedy the growing trade imbalance occurring from the importation of hemp-containing merchandise, the 2014 federal Farm Bill allowed industrial hemp to be grown in pilot programs reserved for universities and state departments of agricultural.

Gov. Tom Wolf has voiced his support for reviving the hemp industry.

Diamond’s bill would bring Pennsylvania law into line with the new federal guidelines, allowing the state to reap the economic benefits as restrictions are further lifted.

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