Governor Wolf Signs Pennsylvania Hemp Bill into Law

Governor Wolf Signs Pennsylvania Hemp Bill into Law

Posted by on Jul 20, 2016 in Blog

welcomehomeIn the afternoon of July 20, 2016, Governor Tom Wolf signed historic legislation into law that will serve as a first step towards bringing back a revival of the once great Pennsylvania hemp industry.

12112092_790852044370652_1704416255635466310_nThe bill known as HB967 is now known as Act 92. It was introduced into the house by Representative Russ Diamond and cosponsored by Representative Marty Flynn. There were nearly two dozen cosponsors in all.

JudyHB967 was a companion bill to legislation introduced into the state senate by State Senator Judy Schwank and cosponsored by State Senator Mike Folmer. That bill was known as SB50 and was passed in the senate 47-0 earlier this year.

HB967 passed in the House 187-0 and passed in the State Senate 49-0. That’s 233 Yes votes and ZERO No votes!

No one in the state of Pennsylvania opposes farmers growing industrial hemp. Not even law enforcement opposes it. When the Senate and House Agricultural and Rural Affairs committees organized their joint hearing they sought to find people opposed to hemp who would voice concerns. They found no one opposed hemp in Pennsylvania.

The legislation was supported by the Pennsylvania Farmers Union, Penn State, the Pa. Department of Agriculture, Lancaster Farm Bureau, Pennsylvania Farm Bureau, Bernville Grange, Pomona Grange, Pennsylvania State Grange, Pennsylvania Hemp Industry Council and farmers across the state.

12049699_566207766879642_5858779507034704511_nKCC played a key role in passing hemp legislation having made it our top priority. We worked closely within the Pennsylvania Hemp Industry Council to achieve our goals and walked the bills through every step from their introductions all the way up until final passage of Act 92.

The next step is the fun and exciting part. We get to actually build the Pennsylvania hemp industry from the ground up. We are very excited and will work to make Pennsylvania not just a participant but a world leader in the cultivation, manufacturing and marketing of hemp and hemp products.

DeptOfAgThe Department of Agriculture is now tasked with writing rules and regulations for implementing the hemp program. Through Pennsylvania Hemp Industry Council we will work with the department to encourage them to take a bold approach and a broad interpretation of both Section 7606 of the federal farm bill and state law.

Hemp-HarvestPennsylvania has a rich history of hemp production. It was grown in the state for over 250 years, from 1681 until the 1940’s. Some anecdotal reports indicate that hemp was grown in some of the rural areas of the state until the 1960’s.

Kentucky is well known as the largest producer of hemp in the nation from the early 1800’s until the Civil War. What is less well known is that before Kentucky took the lead one of the most well-known hemp producing regions in the nation was centered in Lancaster and York counties and the entire surrounding region.

10625122_590263341096191_9086065072119710320_nBetween the years of 1720 to 1870 there were over 100 water-powered mills for processing hemp fiber in Lancaster County alone and dozens more hemp mills in all of the surrounding counties – hundreds throughout the state.

Hemp will be a win-win-win for Pennsylvania. It will help farmers by giving them another cash crop, help the environment and create jobs. Farmers interested in growing industrial hemp are encouraged to obtain memberships to the Pennsylvania Industrial Hemp Council.

hempfieldA new day is dawning in Pennsylvania and the opportunities abound to create a vibrant industry. We have a fascinating past with the hemp crop but the future is even more exciting.

We are going to bring hemp back to the fertile soils of Pennsylvania and we are going to put the HEMP back in HEMPFIELD!