Pa. legalizes industrial hemp

    Gov. Tom Wolf gas signed a law  legalized production of industrial hemp in Pennsylvania. (AP file photo)

    Gov. Tom Wolf gas signed a law legalized production of industrial hemp in Pennsylvania. (AP file photo)

    Gov. Tom Wolf signed 15 new bills into law Wednesday, one of which notably legalized production of industrial hemp in Pennsylvania.

    Hemp, which comes from the same plant as marijuana, has been illegal in the commonwealth since a federal ban in 1970. But Wolf said in a statement that the reinstatement of the industry will be a boon to the state’s economy.

    On a national level, he said, industrial hemp annually earns more than $500 million in retail sales, and the market is still expanding.

    The new law will allow individual Pennsylvanians to grow and sell hemp, so long as they are registered. It also lets agencies and colleges and universities grow the plant for research purposes.

    A Hemp Research Board has been put in place to develop industry regulations, which includes creating growing applications, coming up with industry standards, and compiling a database of registered growers.

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