Pennsylvania has recently opened their door for industrial hemp production. This is something that the state or the entire country for that matter, hasn’t done since the World War 2. Pennsylvania is said to have submitted a plan to the country’s Dept. of Agriculture allowing for complete commercial production of hemp. Hemp comes with a number of potential applications that include clothing, health and beauty products, building materials, rope, and more!
Because of Pennsylvania’s plan, hemp farmers in the state are seeking to cultivate up to 1,000 acres of land area.
Industrial Hemp Research Applications
According to Pennsylvania’s Dept. of Agriculture, they approved around 39 applications for industrial hemp research since February and all applicants have already gone through the permitting process. As a result, almost a thousand acres of hemp is expected to be cultivated in spring. In the previous year, 14 growers were able to produce around 36 acres of hemp crops statewide. 1/3 of those who have submitted their application to grow hemp this year are renewal request from the previous year.
It was last year that the first industrial hemp was cultivated and harvested in Pennsylvania and it’s clear that numerous farmers are showing considerable interest in the crop.
Industrial Hemp Research Pilot Program
It was in December 2016 when Pennsylvania launched its Industrial Hemp Research Program, which expanded in 2018 and has allowed up to 50 growers to cultivate up to 100 acres each of hemp. After the deadline of application, the state’s Bureau of Plant Industry reviewed the various applications and requested for additional information in order to carry out the completion of the permitting process. This also included verifying FBI clearance records.
Permits will be given to successful applicants who have also paid for the $2,000 permit fee. After this, the bureau will submit a request for seed orders from the US Drug Enforcement Agency or the DEA. The DEA should allow for the importation of hemp seeds to the United States.
Under the proposed plan of Pennsylvania, industrial hemp will be regulated and that will, in turn, make it a controlled crop. This label will require hemp farmers to obtain license and permit that will be subjected to enforcement. The good news is that the number of applications will not be limited.
The History of Industrial Hemp in the US
Industrial hemp was commercially grown in the US through the World War II period but was regulated along with marijuana around the 1950s and 1960s, which prohibits the crop’s cultivation.
It should be noted that marijuana and industrial hemp are two different varieties although both are obtained from the same plant species of cannabis sativa. But unlike marijuana, hemp is mostly grown for seed and fiber and has an extremely low level of THC, the psychoactive component that makes people high when using marijuana. Therefore, the industrial hemp is totally safe for use or consumption and shouldn’t be seen as something prohibited or illegal.