Industrial hemp grows in Pennsylvania under new federal law


HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) – Industrial hemp is in the ground and growing in Pennsylvania under a new federal law that legalized its production.

A state Department of Agriculture spokeswoman said Friday that the agency is sorting through more than 300 applications. The annual application period closed on April 30. The department has issued more than 80 permits, and some producers are already growing.

The permits, for now, don’t limit acreage.

Industrial hemp’s generally been barred because it is related to marijuana, even though it contains little of that drug’s primary psychoactive ingredient, THC.

The federal government had approved a pilot program in the 2014 farm bill to research hemp under state regulation.

Pennsylvania requires growers to register and obtain permits. The Department of Agriculture tests the plants to ensure they are hemp and not marijuana.

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