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HempNearly three years ago, Gov. Wolf signed a bill to reestablish Pennsylvania’s industrial hemp industry. As the Democratic chair of the Senate Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee, I had spent a lot of time advocating for and crafting that legislation.

Actually, the whole thing was part legislation and part education. We had to overcome the stigma that somehow Industrial Hemp was bad – that it had the same effects of its cousin – Marijuana. Combine that with the fact that it had been banned for 80 years and you get the idea of why it took so much work. 

You can do amazing things with hemp. You can build houses out of hempcrete, or make clothes and ropes, lotions. But, truly, the most profitable thing you can get from hemp is cannabidiol (CBD).

CBD is already in Berks County. I’ve seen it in health food stores and other markets, but, the thing is, some of these products are not being accurately labeled. I’ve seen testing that shows the CBD content is not what the product is advertising.

We need to ensure what consumers are buying are clearly labeled quality products.

This is why I recently introduced legislation to expand hemp production in Pennsylvania. SB335, the Industrial Hemp Act, recognizes hemp as an allowable cosmetic ingredient, food, food additive or herb to be regulated as any other food ingredient or food commodity. 

The bill states that hemp products must not must not contain more than 0.3 percent delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), below the psychoactive threshold. Instead, producers will be able to extract cannabidiol (CBD), a non-psychoactive compound that has nutritional and cosmetic uses and is already being sold in consumable food in Pennsylvania. 

This legislation will allow farmers continued access to a new market and put them on the same playing field as other states like Colorado that have passed hemp food legislation. We don’t know that farmers will flock to hemp, but they need the ability to decide for themselves.

This legislation will help put CBD under guidelines until the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) makes a ruling on CBD.  The industry is expected to grow as a result of the 2018 Federal Farm Bill which removed hemp from the federal controlled substance list.

Hemp, and products made from it, played a large role in our history, and has immeasurable benefits for the future of our Commonwealth. I’m hopeful this legislation will help get us there.

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  District Office
210 George Street
Suite 201
Reading, PA 19605
Phone: (610) 929-2151
Fax: (610) 929-2576
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457 Main Capitol Building
Senate Box 203011
Harrisburg, PA 17120-3011
Phone: (717) 787-8925
Fax: (717) 772-0578