Advocates of hemp were very pleased with the legalization of the crop, which was touted as a wonder crop that’s capable of treating various illnesses. Hemp is also used in industrial manufacturing and as an additive in various supplements and food products.
Local farmers saw this as a potential supplement to the usual crops they grow and they believe that this could boost the local agricultural industry. Many predict that the plant could become a major boost to the economy, bringing in new jobs and income to the country, especially in the states where the hemp industry is growing. However, several farmers are still not sure whether they should start growing the crop or not.
Legalization of Hemp
Marijuana and hemp are varieties of cannabis. However, unlike marijuana, hemp will not make you high. It contains very little amount of the THC, the psychoactive component responsible for getting a user high. Yet, the government has long treated both hemp and marijuana the same and has classified hemp as Schedule 1 controlled substance, similar to heroin.
With the recent approval of the Farm Bill, however, the commercial production of hemp is now considered legal. Yet, there are still many uncertainties surrounding the hemp industry, which is why farmers are confused on whether they should consider growing the crop or not.
Uncertainty behind the Hemp Legalization
In Pennsylvania, farmers and research institutes are allowed to produce a moderate amount of hemp that can be used for research purposes. However, the state doesn’t have a law in place when it comes to producing hemp for commercial purposes. Despite the recent approval of the bill, hemp growers are still operating based on the guidelines that were set in the past two years. The Agriculture Department of the state is still waiting for advice from the US Dept. of Agriculture before they can come up with new regulations.
Industrial Hemp in Pennsylvania
Many believe that Pennsylvania’s goal to become an industry leader in hemp is still narrow and it might not be able to succeed. As of now, farmers are only limited to growing the crop in less than 100 acres of land. That’s not enough to make hemp a major industry that can help boost the state’s economy.
Some growers and advocates are trying to convince the agriculture department of the state to come up with a new law quickly but to no avail. This is pretty upsetting, especially since some big companies are now trying to get their hands in the industry. For instance, a medical cannabis company built the state’s first-ever hemp processing plant in New Stanton. This plant is capable of producing different hemp products, including cannabinoid oils. The company plans to expand into food products and textiles soon.
Some advocates in Pennsylvania are worried that if there won’t be enough supply for hemp, some of these big companies might consider relocating to nearby states where there’s no limit on the amount of hemp that farmers are allowed to grow.