Industrial hemp proposal advances in state House

Industrial hemp research in Pennsylvania gained more solid footing Tuesday as legislation introduced by state Rep. Russ Diamond (R-Lebanon) to create an agricultural pilot program was unanimously approved by the Pennsylvania House Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee.

House Bill 967, which would allow industrial hemp to be grown or cultivated in programs administered by either the Department of Agriculture or institutions of higher learning focused on research and development, now heads to the House floor.

“There’s an enormous amount of confusion and misinformation around industrial hemp – it’s not marijuana and you can’t get high from it,” Diamond said. “It’s a naturally occurring plant that’s incredibly strong and durable, making it ideal for use in a wide variety of consumer products.”

Although legally grown in pilot programs since last year, Pennsylvania law has not caught up to federal progress.

Because industrial hemp cultivation is largely banned in the U.S., American industries have had to import many products that contain hemp. Such products include vehicle dashboards, home insulation, building materials, soil fertilizer and even some food items. Because they have to be imported, it places U.S. industries at a competitive disadvantage.  read more

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