PENNSYLVANIA: If state Sens. Mike Folmer and Judith Schwank have their way, the plant that lent its name to East and West Hempfield townships could once again grow here.
“We will shortly be introducing legislation to permit the cultivation and processing of industrial hemp in Pennsylvania,” the two wrote in a recent memo. “Although federal law for decades prohibited the cultivation and growth of cannabis without distinguishing industrial hemp from the psychoactive forms, the federal Farm Bill of 2014 hemp in Pennsylvania now authorizes pilot programs for industrial hemp.”
More than a dozen states permit such production, the memo says, and the proposal would add Pennsylvania to those ranks by establishing an industrial hemp licensing board within the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture.
Schwank, who represents Berks County, is optimistic about the bill’s chances. It will take a while to figure out how to grow, harvest and market industrial hemp appropriately here, she said, and creating a licensing board is just the first step in that process. She also thinks the debate about legalizing medical marijuana here has raised the public awareness that industrial hemp “has none of the qualities that medicinal cannabis would have.”