Pennsylvania lifts hemp production, license caps, citing Farm Bill and federal shutdown

Pennsylvania’s planned hemp expansion has turned into a surprise lift on hemp production caps, thanks to the recent Farm Bill and ongoing federal shutdown.

Russell Redding, Pennsylvania’s agriculture secretary, said the Keystone State is removing requirements that hemp be grown for research purposes, The (Allentown) Morning Call reported.

Pennsylvania will also remove 100-acre growing caps for current and new hemp applicants.

“Pennsylvania’s story is shaped by agriculture … and industrial hemp presents an exciting new chapter in that story,” Redding said in a news release.

Pennsylvania launched its hemp program in 2016.

The state had conditionally approved 84 applicants for 2019 before the surprise announcement that it will allow all commercial hemp production while awaiting federal hemp direction.

Redding said his state submitted a hemp-regulation plan to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which must approve or reject state hemp plans.

The federal shutdown has put that approval process on hold.