For the past two years, the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture has administered an Industrial Hemp Research Pilot Program, legitimized by the 2014 Farm Bill and authorized in Pennsylvania statute by the Industrial Hemp Research Act of Jul. 20, 2016, P.L. 822, No. 92. The 2018 Farm Bill removes industrial hemp from regulation under the Controlled Substances Act and provides for commercial production of industrial hemp, creating an exciting opportunity for industrial hemp in Pennsylvania.
The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is taking advantage of the new opportunities in the Farm Bill Industrial Hemp Production program by submitting a state plan to USDA. That plan certifies our commitment to creating the conditions for Pennsylvanians to grow a profitable, sustainable, and in-demand product. Acreage caps—previously set at 100 acres—have been lifted, and acreage will no longer be restricted under the new program.
The application period for the 2019 growing season has closed as of May 1. Properly completed applications received before May 1 will be processed, and those applicants will have until May 21 to sign and return their permits for final execution. For those who have already begun the permitting process, no additional growing locations will be approved after May 1.
The Hemp Program anticipates that the updated program details and permit application for 2020 will be available sometime in the late fall. Parties interested in applying can check the webpage for updates at that time.