Reading Eagle: Susan Keen | Rodale Institute unveiled its hemp research program earlier this year. It’s one of several approved under legislation allowing growers to plant hemp under tight controls for research only. The state Department of Agriculture plans to expand the hemp program in 2018.
Wednesday December 6, 2017 12:01 AM
The state Department of Agriculture will significantly expand Pennsylvania’s experiment with hemp in 2018.
Hemp, a close cousin of marijuana that is illegal to grow under federal law, is inching toward respectability under a provision in the federal 2014 Farm Bill that authorized states to experiment with the plant, once a thriving cash crop dating to the American Revolution.The state Department of Agriculture will increase the number of permits from 30 to 50, allow qualified farmers to plant up to 100 acres, up from 5; and eliminate acreage limits for institutional applicants.State Sen. Judy Schwank, a Ruscombmanor Township Democrat, was one of the driving forces behind legislation that established Pennsylvania’s hemp program.