On the first of December, the Department of Agriculture released guidelines for the state’s industrial hemp research program, approved just four months prior. The current guidelines stipulate that only programs that produce or use hemp fiber or seed for industrial and research purposes may be approved.
The plan has drawn heavy criticism from many advocates, including Senator Judy Schwank, who envisioned more aggressive legislation. Among the chief complaints: the program has no provisions for the legalization for hemp cannabidiol or CMD. While this falls in line with the state’s historical stance on the use of CMD for medical purposes, many fear that it may hinder the further development of business within Pennsylvania.
The Senator’s feelings reflect the sentiment of many within the community who are disappointed by the legislation’s limited scope and reach. The leadership of the Pennsylvania Hemp Industry Council, for example, criticized the plan for its apparent inability to spur the growth of the state’s hemp industry, going as far as to call the plan “worthless”.
Admission into the program also comes at a cost. Seekers of one of the 30 available research permits will be required to pay $3,000 for administrative costs and reviews alone. While the initial price tag may be a drop in the bucket for larger companies, entrepreneurs, and organizations, it may act to block many from breaking into the industry.
Despite the negative opinions, the Agriculture department remains optimistic about the future of the program. A department spokesperson said that the law is meant to act as a stepping stone for future legislation and the possibility of commercial production. The state estimates that hemp research projects may be underway as soon as 2017.
The Department of Agriculture has demonstrated their willingness to act quickly with the deadline to apply for a permit set for January 6th, less than a month away.
About Sacks Weston LLC
If you are seeking help with a legal matter related to current hemp or marijuana laws in Pennsylvania, Sacks Weston LLC can help you to understand your options. As fierce advocates of hemp and medical marijuana legalization efforts, we are uniquely positioned to help represent clients enter and thrive within the industry.
For more information on the services we offer or how we may be able to help you, call us at (215) 764-3008 or schedule a consultation online.