In a surprise move, Pennsylvania is throwing the door wide open for industrial hemp production

In a surprising turn, Pennsylvania is throwing the door wide open for industrial hemp production — something the state, or the United States, for that matter, has not seen since before World War II.


So what's the difference between hemp and marijuana anyway?

In December 2018, a federal Farm Bill was signed into law that removes hemp — cannabis plants with a trace amount of the chemical compound that gets you high — from the Controlled Substance Act.

But what's the difference between hemp and marijuana?

The answer to that question may be on the minds of Pennsylvania residents this week, after State Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding said Tuesday a plan was submitted to the U.S. Department of Agriculture that allows for the full commercial production of industrial hemp.


Data shows black people in Philadelphia are still targeted after pot decriminalization

Despite the decriminalization of cannabis in Philadelphia four years ago, African-Americans in the city are still being disproportionately charged with marijuana offenses by police. The city decriminalized possession of less than 30 grams of cannabis with an ordinance passed in 2014.

But arrests for possession are still made, and purchasing marijuana is still a criminal offense. In the four years since decriminalization, Black people—who represent 44 percent of the city’s population—made up 76 percent of all arrests for marijuana possession. The defendants in 81 percent of arrests for buying cannabis were Black.


Pot in Pennsylvania: Yes, there's strong public support for recreational marijuana

The idea of legalizing marijuana may have significant opposition in the General Assembly, but polls show the public supports the idea.


Pennsylvania Governor indicates support for legalizing recreational cannabis in series of tweets

In a series of questions and answers on Twitter earlier this week, it appears that Democratic Governor of Pennsylvania Tom Wolf is considering legalizing recreational cannabis in the state.

“More and more states are successfully implementing marijuana legalization, and Pennsylvania should learn from their efforts,” Wolf responded to one tweet which asked when Pennsylvania will “catch up and make recreational marijuana legal".

“Any change would take legislation, but I think it is time for Pennsylvania to take a serious and honest look at recreational marijuana.”


School districts struggle with rules for administering medical marijuana - Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Nearly three years after Pennsylvania legalized medical marijuana, school districts are struggling to figure out how to get it administered to children who need it while dealing with conflicting state and federal law.

As medical marijuana burgeons across Pennsylvania and elsewhere – 33 states and Washington D.C. have legalized it – the federal government maintains a strict ban on the substance. Meanwhile, patients suffering from a range of chronic conditions, such as neurological disorders and Crohn’s Disease, use it to treat symptoms and improve the quality of their lives.

Local school officials say the rift puts them in a bind.


Pennsylvania to consider more conditions that should qualify for medical marijuana

Pennsylvania could soon make more conditions eligible for medical marijuana treatment.

The state Medical Marijuana Advisory Boardapproved a new process for amending and expanding the state’s list of 21 serious conditions for which patients may use cannabis as treatment, Department of Health spokesman Nate Wardle said.

In the coming weeks, the board will begin accepting research-based petitions for qualifying conditions to be added to the list, with tentative plans to discuss and vote on the first round of submissions during its next meeting Feb. 1.


Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture requests applications for 2019 hemp research projects

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."


80,000 patients sign up for Pa.’s medical marijuana program in first year

Meanwhile, close to half of the registered doctors in the state are in the Philadelphia area.

It’s been almost one year since Pennsylvania opened its medical marijuana patient registry, allowing residents to apply for the right to legally obtain medical marijuana for a wide variety of conditions, and we’ve got some numbers from the program’s first year from Pennsylvania’s Department of Health.

According to Nate Wardle, press secretary for the Department of Health in Harrisburg, more than 80,000 patients have registered for the medical marijuana program since the registry launched in October 2017. Of those 80,000 patients, the state has approved nearly 51,000 to receive medical marijuana through dispensaries.


Bill to decriminalize marijuana moves forward in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania may decriminalize marijuana to clear up the state’s clogged court system.

A bill that would decriminalize marijuana in Pennsylvania will move forward after receiving the approval of a key legislative committee on Tuesday. The House Judiciary Committee voted in favor of the measure, House Bill 928, by a margin of 14-9. The bill must be approved by the full House and the state Senate and be signed by Gov. Tom Wolf to become law. The governor has said he will sign the legislation if it reaches his desk.


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