Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture requests applications for 2019 hemp research projects

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Pennsylvania Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding on Tuesday announced that applications and guidelines for 2019 industrial hemp research permits are available.

Sixty research projects will be selected this year, the third year of the program’s operation. The projects will help determine opportunities for the growth, cultivation and marketing of industrial hemp.

"Industrial hemp has a rich history in Pennsylvania, and presents a future opportunity for growers, processors, and other businesses that make a range of products across the commonwealth," Redding said. "The first research projects conducted have shown exciting progress and possibilities for this reemerging crop. This research will help us reintroduce industrial hemp in Pennsylvania."

The Department of Agriculture will select projects based on a complete program application and merit of the proposed research. Under the program, the department can issue research permits to institutions of higher education or to people contracted with the department to grow industrial hemp for research purposes.

The deadline to apply for the 2019 PDA Industrial Hemp Research Pilot Program is Dec. 17. Applications will be reviewed and tentatively approved applicants will be notified by Jan. 4.

Industrial hemp was grown in the United States, and in Pennsylvania, until after World War II, but became regulated along with marijuana and its cultivation was prohibited. Industrial hemp and marijuana are different varieties of the same species of plant. Unlike marijuana, industrial hemp is grown mainly for fiber and seed, and must maintain a concentration of the psychoactive chemical tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, below the 0.3 percent legal threshold.

For more information and to view application materials, visit the department's website.

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