Lawmakers push hemp legalization in Pennsylvania
Awesome coverage of the Pennsylvania Hemp Conference by CBS21! Watch the video here
HARRISBURG, Pa. — Two Pennsylvania lawmakers are pushing a bill that would make it possible to grow industrial hemp in Pennsylvania.
“This is a no-brainer,” says Senator Mike Folmer.
The republican from Lebanon County is teaming up with Senator Judy Schwank, a democrat from Berks County, in introducing Senate Bill 50, which they call “Industrial Hemp Bill.”
“As a fiscal conservative, one who would like to make sure that we’re spending every dollar as efficiently as possible, this would allow farmers to stay on the farm.”
According to the Hemp Industries Association, in 2012, the U.S. hemp industry was valued at $500 million. The bipartisan bill hopes to tap into a multi-million dollar industry. The 2014 federal farm bill authorizes pilot programs for industrial hemp.
At Saturday’s press conference to announce the bill, products made from industrial hemp were on display, “this will be a cash crop for them. It’s so diverse you can make plastic from it, you can make wood from it, you can make cement from it, you can make paper from it, and you can make cloth fiber from it. It’s also a pretty dense biofuel potential also,” explains Senator Folmer.
Adam Thompson runs a group called the Pennsylvania Hemp Company. It represents farmers with a desire to add hemp to their crops, “with one crop farmers will be able to multi diversify In a number of different industries.”
Hemp was outlawed along with marijuana in 1937. Hemp comes from the same cannabis plant marijuana comes from. The big difference is hemp has low levels of THC which is what gives people a high when they smoke or consume marijuana.
Thompson explains industrial hemp could help farmers diversify their crops.
“As the industry progresses and were able to utilize more of the plant We’re going to have an intense demand for all of the fiber Oil they hempseed oil and so on and so forths,” said Thompson.
Senator Folmer explains passage of the bill is good for the state.
“It’s a win for Pennsylvania farmers and it’s a win for Pennsylvania’s economy. It is going to be a win for Pennsylvania’s environment,” said Folmer.