Hempfield could become the next town in a long list of counties around the US that have started producing industrial hemp. This is thanks to a new program by the State Department of Agriculture that will lift the legal limits that have hampered the growing of the crop in this state. Farmers will however still need a permit from the state to grow the crop but many feel that this is a big step in the right direction. The State Department of Agriculture has also noted that previous caps on the number of permits that can be approved at a given time will be removed. The state will not dictate the amount of hemp that farmers can grow as it used to.
Analysts say that this could be the first step in a journey to revitalize the economy of Westmoreland through the multibillion-dollar CBD oil industry. Unlike other counties, Westmoreland had already started to warm up to the idea. The Commonwealth Alternative Medicine Solutions, a Pittsburg-based company, has opened a hemp processing facility in New Stanton. The facility is designed to process hemp grown by farmers in the area.
However, due to the laws that limited the amount that could be grown at a given time, there was a feeling that the facility would never really achieve its full potential. But things could start to change. The New Stanton plant is involved in CBD oil research. It also turns the hemp grown by local farmers into an array of medicinal products that are sold across the state. The facility had a total of 30 employees but this number is expected to drastically increase this year. The company is also hoping to expand the facility and ramp up production of more hemp-based products in the near future.
The deregulation by the State Department of Agriculture makes hemp production a mainstream industry and as such, new investments into the sector will start coming in. Hemp is one of the most popular cannabis-based plants at the moment. It has been legalized in many states around the US due to the low levels of THC, the component in marijuana that makes people high. At one time hemp was actually a very common crop in the United States. But the federal government banned it in the 1930s due to its association with marijuana.
The ban was lifted nearly a century later when Congress passed the Farm Bill in 2018. States however still need to craft their own legislation for the production and distribution of industrial hemp. But there’s no denying the opportunity. In 2018, the national CBD industry was valued at $600 million and as demand for the oil continues to grow, this value is expected to skyrocket to billions of dollars over the coming few years. Despite this, there are still so many farmers who are yet to take advantage. For instance, Pennsylvania only had 33 approved hemp growers in 2018. There’s hope though that this number will increase thanks to the new Farm Bill by the State Department of Agriculture.