Judy Schwank, Mike Folmer to introduce ‘industrial hemp’ bill in Pennsylvania Senate
HARRISBURG, Pa. – A pair of Pennsylvania lawmakers are set to introduce what they call the “industrial hemp” bill. Pa. Sen. Judy Schwank, D-Berks County, and Pa. Sen. Mike Folmer, R-Lebanon County, said their measure, if it becomes law, would help Pennsylvania farmers tap into the multi-million dollar hemp industry.
“The 2014 federal Farm Bill authorizes pilot programs for industrial hemp, and SB 50 provides oversight for growing, harvesting and marketing a traditional commonwealth crop while providing new opportunities for Pennsylvania farmers,” Schwank said.
Industrial hemp, Schwank said, has been used for thousands of years in numerous applications and, until the last century, was commonly grown in Pennsylvania. An estimated 50,000 potential applications exist for hemp’s use across a wide spectrum of industries, including textiles, building materials, industrial products, paper and energy and environmental products, according to the lawmakers.
“The use of industrial hemp provides a multitude of benefits,” Folmer said. “The best farmland preservation is allowing farmers to farm their land profitably. Hemp is also a crop that helps the environment. Consumers will benefit from the many uses of hemp.”
The Hemp Industries Association valued the U.S. hemp industry in 2012 at an estimated $500 million. Schwank and Folmer will discuss their bill in detail during a media briefing at the Pennsylvania Farm Show on Saturday.