Medical marijuana has only recently been legalized in Pennsylvania, but Governor Tom Wolf is not yet finished with revising the state’s cannabis laws. In late July 2016, he signed a bill that will change Pennsylvania hemp law, allowing more farmers to cultivate hemp for various uses. In particular, the Agriculture Department has been tasked to oversee hemp cultivation programs directed for state and scholarly research and studies.
Hemp is a plant form the same family as marijuana but it has virtually no chance of impairing or influencing a user. THC, which is the chemical component that induces a “high” in marijuana users, is 17 to 70 times weaker in hemp. Parties that feared that hemp could be used in illegal drug production have found it difficult, if not impossible, to maintain their arguments in light of this scientific evidence.
Proponents of the newly-signed hemp bill pointed out that hemp was a significant crop in Pennsylvania before 1950, when federal laws banned cultivating any cannabis plant species. With hemp starting to reenter Pennsylvania’s crop cycle, industries that use the crop for miscellaneous uses – making rope, clothing fiber, construction insulation, etc. – should expect a rise in profits and productivity. Farmers can grow hemp between seasons of their main crops due to the plant’s low maintenance requirements and its ability to keep soil healthy.
This is only the first step of many in promoting the return of hemp cultivation in Pennsylvania and America. Although the Agriculture Department estimates that it will cost the state half-a-million dollars to conduct its annual research, the pay-off will certainly be worth it if it means revitalizing an entire industry.
For more information on this new bill, you can read a full article posted by the Standard Speaker here. As Pennsylvania’s leading law with membership to the American Trade Association of Cannabis and Hemp (ATACH), Sacks Weston LLC is interested in all legal matters related to cannabis, marijuana, and hemp laws. Be sure to visit our blog for routine updates, or contact us if you have a legal matter that requires the attention of our professional Pennsylvania hemp lawyers.