Earlier this week, Congressman Ryan Costello visited Rodale Institute in Pennsylvania to check out progress on an industrial hemp research project.
Rodale Institute’s project is one of 16 that received a permit earlier this year for the inaugural planting of industrial hemp in Pennsylvania – the first time the crop has been legally cultivated in the state in more than eight decades.
Over the next four years, Rodale Institute will conduct a research project through two field trials.
One is a trial cultivating several varieties of industrial hemp that have been specially bred to yield more and better quality fiber and/or seeds, to determine what strains are best suited to the region’s climate.
Another trial is related to weed suppression where hemp will be grown as a rotational crop in a system based on organic farming principles.
“Hemp fits well into a diverse organic crop rotation and its high biomass and canopy production has the potential to shade out weeds resulting in lower weed seed germination and growth,” says the Institute.
Pennsylvania’s industrial hemp bill was signed into law in July last year.
As well as industrial hemp, Congressman Costello is a supporter of medical cannabis, and has been for some years.
According to NORML, the Congressman has voted yes on a number of medicinal cannabis amendments: Veterans Equal Access (2016), McClintock/Polis (2015), Rohrabacher/Farr (2015) and Veterans Equal Access Amendment (2015).
While on the topic of medical cannabis, more than 100 physicians commenced the signup process for becoming approved medical cannabis providers in Pennsylvania in the first 10 days after registration opened in July according to Rachel L. Levine, MD. Dr. Levine is acting-Secretary of Health & Physician General for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
Permits have also been issued to 27 entities for dispensaries so far and 12 entities for cultivation/processing in the state.
Medical marijuana was legalised in Pennsylvania in 2016 when Governor Wolf signed the program into law, but it won’t be until next year before the program is expected to be fully implemented; i.e. patients being able to purchase cannabis medicines.
A listing of qualifying conditions for Pennsylvania’s Medical Marijuana Program and other details can be found here.