A proposal in the Senate that would take advantage of federal permission to begin an industrial hemp program in Pennsylvania took a step forward in the Senate Tuesday with its unanimous passage out of the Senate Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee.
The proposal jointly sponsored by Senators Judy Schwank (D-Berks) and Mike Folmer (R-Lebanon) would allow the state to begin industrial hemp pilot programs under the direction of the Department of Agriculture and with research conducted by institutions of higher education.
Sen. Schwank said after Tuesday’s committee meeting that the proposal now moving in the Senate differs slightly from one in the House sponsored by Rep. Russ Diamond (R-Lebanon) in that it will allow individual farmers to serve as the research vehicles.
“A farmer and farmers throughout the state could actually start to grow this under the auspices of the Department of Agriculture and the oversight that’s built in to the bill,” she said. “That way, it gives us an opportunity to look at how this would grow throughout the commonwealth rather than just in one place."