Lawmakers heard about the economic benefits and opportunities hemp presents as an agricultural product during a hearing in Philadelphia Monday.
Hosted by state Rep. Danilo Burgos (D-Philadelphia), the hearing for the House Democratic Policy Committee allowed members of the state House to hear from experts, growing professionals, and others about hemp as a product for the state.
“Pennsylvania has a tremendous economic opportunity here in Pennsylvania and in Philadelphia specifically to benefit from responsibly grown hemp,” Burgos said. “I am grateful to those testifying today for sharing knowledge and expertise about the hemp industry with us.”
With at least 25,000 unique known uses, hemp has the potential to be an avenue for jobs and revenue for the state’s agricultural sector, experts said.
Judy Wicks, founder of All Together Now Pennsylvania, said hemp is a solid and durable material that is stronger than cotton, can replace insulation, and has many food and consumer applications while being easy on the environment. Hemp does not require herbicides or pesticides and requires less water and fossil fuels to produce, she said.
“Pennsylvania has one of the strongest agricultural industries in the nation, and we have an opportunity to show leadership in hemp production as we have in other products,” said state Rep. Mary Isaacson (D-Philadelphia). “Hemp containing less than 0.05% THC has been legalized at the federal level, so we need to make sure that we do what we need to so that growers have no issues setting up shop, opening bank accounts, running their business, and adding to our economy.”
Legislation in the Pennsylvania legislature, like S.B. 1167, would solve some of the issues growers face in regard to banking and insurance.
“It’s clear that hemp has tremendous promise to boost our economy, bring jobs to our Commonwealth, and lift our communities,” Burgos said. “This is the second hearing about the promise that this industry could have for communities across the Commonwealth, showing that we are prepared to work in the legislature to make Pennsylvania a place where hemp business can thrive. Let’s get it done.”