Pennsylvania boosting available hemp licenses by two-thirds for 2018

Pennsylvania’s hemp production is poised to expand dramatically after Gov. Tom Wolf announced plans this week to increase the number of available hemp licenses by 66% – and the total acreage by even more.

Wolf said Pennsylvania’s first year in the modern hemp market, 2017, was a “learning experience.”

Pennsylvania authorized hemp in 2016, with the first crop going in the ground this year. The state awarded 16 licenses out of a possible 30.

“Even with the small-scale research pilot projects of 2017, it was clear there is a tremendous enthusiasm among growers,” the Democratic governor said.

Pennsylvania will offer 50 hemp licenses in 2018, up from 30 this year. And hemp acreage on each application can go from 5 acres to 100 acres.

Hemp licenses so far have been concentrated in Lancaster County, according to Lancaster Online, which first reported the hemp expansion.

“We expect to see the full potential of this industry in 2018,” state Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding said in a statement.

Pennsylvania applications to grow hemp for the 2018 season cost $250 and are due by Jan. 19.