Rep Flynn: Pennsylvania's hemp program accepting applications

HARRISBURG, Jan. 3 – State Rep. Marty Flynn, D-Lackawanna, said the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture’s 2020 hemp program will begin accepting applications from both commercial growers and processors in the state starting Jan. 4 through April 1, 2020.

Flynn said this year growers and processors of hemp are required to apply.

“It’s not often that we get to renew or promote a new industry in our commonwealth, particularly one that has the potential of becoming a major industry in the next decade,” Flynn said.

Over the last two years, the state House of Representatives unanimously passed, and sent to Gov. Tom Wolf’s desk, legislation including language sponsored by Flynn that established an industrial hemp research pilot program in Pennsylvania. The legislation was signed by the governor.

In 2017 and 2018, the department administered the Industrial Hemp Pilot Research Program, legitimized by the 2014 Farm Bill and authorized in Pennsylvania statute by the Industrial Hemp Research Act.

 

The 2014 Federal Farm Bill only allows pilot programs initiated and performed by colleges and the state Department of Agriculture to cultivate industrial hemp for research purposes. The legislation passed and created such a program.

“This is particularly ironic in that Pennsylvania was the capitol of hemp farming in the mid 1700’s, also one of the first pieces of commonwealth legislation, was a bill passed by the General Assembly in 1683 encouraging every farmer to grow hemp,” Flynn said.