Embattled Pennsylvania hemp processor ordered to close

A hemp drying and processing company in Pennsylvania that has received numerous complaints about its facilities, odor and lack of pay to employees has been ordered by the state to close.

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) issued an administrative order to cease operation at the Jeannette facility of Patriot Shield Security, The Philadelphia Enquirer reported.

The hemp processor is owned by Patriot Shield, a Colorado-based security and transportation company that serves both hemp and marijuana clients.

“This enforcement action follows two notices of violation sent to the facility following citizen complaints and inspections by DEP staff documenting malodors, as well as the installation and operation of equipment without DEP authorization,” according to the agency.

Andrew Englund, Patriot Shield’s Pennsylvania director, did not immediately respond to Hemp Industry Daily’s request for comment.

Neighbors of the business had been complaining for months about the smell, and when the DEP investigated, the agency found that Patriot Shield was using ineffectual equipment and didn’t have permits for its machines.

The plant fell under jurisdiction of the DEP because it was a stand-alone business. If the facility had been part of a farm, the DEP said, it would have been regulated by the agriculture department.

Patriot Shield, which had 48 hours to respond to the state’s order, was allowed to reopen temporarily in late November after being forced to close for allegedly ignoring code requirements and violating Pennsylvania’s air pollution requirements.

Also, employees there at the time were behind in receiving paychecks.

The facility was warned it would have to close again if the city received any additional complaints.

Englund told Hemp Industry Daily in November that state officials were using code compliance as a way to retaliate against the company for not paying workers.

More details about Patriot Shield’s closure are available here.