Pennsylvania to expand industrial hemp program

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – Pennsylvania’s industrial hemp program will be expanded next year to allow more people to grow the crop for research purposes.

For 2018, the state will allow up to 50 individual growers or institutions of higher education to grow up to 100 acres apiece.

Last year, the Agriculture Department limited the number of growers to 30. Each could grow no more than five acres.

Industrial hemp is used to manufacture products such as paper, cloth, rope and building materials, but the crop was federally outlawed in 1937 because, like marijuana, it comes from the cannabis plant. Industrial hemp, however, does not produce a psychoactive effect.

The 2014 Farm Bill loosened restrictions on the production of industrial hemp. In 2016, Gov. Tom Wolf signed legislation to create the agricultural pilot program.

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