Ag Committee Approves Diamond Industrial Hemp Bill
HARRISBURG – The Pennsylvania House Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee today unanimously approved legislation introduced by Rep. Russ Diamond (R-Lebanon) that would create an agricultural pilot program for industrial hemp research. The measure now advances to the House floor.
House Bill 967
would permit industrial hemp to be grown or cultivated in special programs administered by the Department of Agriculture or institutions of higher learning focused on research and development.
“There’s an enormous amount of confusion and misinformation around industrial hemp – it’s not marijuana and you can’t get high from it,” said Diamond. “It’s a naturally occurring plant that’s incredibly strong and durable, making it ideal for use in a wide variety of consumer products.”
Products containing industrial hemp include automobile dashboards, home insulation, building materials, soil fertilizer and even some food items. While cultivation has been largely banned in the United States, Americans import products from around the world made from industrial hemp, placing the nation at a competitive disadvantage.
Because the plant is safe, and to remedy the growing trade imbalance occurring from the importation of hemp-containing merchandise, the 2014 federal Farm Bill allowed industrial hemp to be grown in pilot programs reserved for universities and state departments of agricultural. Pennsylvania law, however, has not caught up to federal developments.
“The feds are catching on to the enormous environmental and economic benefits of the use of industrial hemp, and this pilot program anticipates the full legalization of hemp crops for industrial purposes in the future,” said Diamond. “My bill will put Pennsylvania in position to reap the economic rewards that will come when further barriers are removed.”
Pennsylvania once led the nation in industrial hemp production, and the plant was widely grown in the United States for use in many products. In an overreaching attempt to fight marijuana use, the federal government outlawed industrial hemp in the 1930s.
For more information, please see RepDiamond.com
Representative Russ Diamond
102nd Legislative District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Ryan Travis, 717.260.6335