Pennsylvania House approves industrial hemp bill

The Associated Press

HARRISBURG — The Pennsylvania House has approved a bill to create a pilot program for industrial hemp research.

Alex White Plume stands in the field Tuesday, March 29, 2016, where he once cultivated hemp near his home on the Pine Ridge Reservation near Manderson, S.D. White Plume's crop was chopped down by DEA agents more than a decade ago. Now an injunction has been lifted by the court and White Plume can start exploring hemp cultivation again. Chris Huber photo reports the House unanimously passed the measure Wednesday. The Senate approved similar legislation in March.

Hemp can be used to make a variety of products including fabric, paper and fuel.

Republican state Rep. Russ Diamond sponsored the House bill. Under his proposal, the state Department of Agriculture and colleges would oversee hemp research programs.

Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf has voiced his support for reviving the hemp industry in the state.

Hemp was outlawed in the United States in 1937 because of its association with marijuana, but it has a very low content of the chemical used to make marijuana.

Hemp has seen a recent resurgence because of imports from Canada.