Sen. Judy Schwank (D-Berks) 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 like any other food ingredient or food commodity.
“Hemp is a multi-million-dollar industry that is expected to grow as a result of the 2018 Federal Farm Bill which removed hemp from the federally controlled substance list,” Schwank said. “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.”
The bill states that hemp products must not contain more than 0.3 percent delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is 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.
“CBD is already here,” Schwank said. “We need to ensure what consumers are buying are clearly labeled quality products.”
The bill has already received support from the Pennsylvania Hemp Industry Council.
“This is a great start to ensure Pennsylvania is at the forefront of all things hemp,” said the council’s Executive Director Erica McBride-Stark. “It is another step in Pennsylvania’s commitment to creating a world-class hemp industry.”
Schwank, the Democratic chair of the Senate Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee, has long recognized the importance of hemp. She spearheaded legislation in the Senate and was a tireless advocate for the reestablishment of the industrial hemp industry. Her legislation was unanimously approved by the Senate, while companion legislation – introduced in the House – made its way through the General Assembly and onto the governor’s desk in July of 2016.
“Hemp and products made from it played a large role in our history, and has immeasurable benefits for the future of our Commonwealth,” Schwank said. “I hope my Senate colleagues will recognize this opportunity and move this bill forward.”