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Industrial Hemp Grows at Montour County Farm

LIMESTONE TOWNSHIP -- For the first time in over 80 years, farmers and researchers with permits are growing hemp in Pennsylvania.

The first seeds were planted at a farm in Montour County this week.

Researchers celebrated this historic moment for Pennsylvania on Friday.

To explain why this is such a historic moment in Pennsylvania, we need to give some background on hemp. Over 80 years ago, hemp was banned in Pennsylvania because it was grouped in with marijuana during the "Reefer Madness" era.

Researchers tell say while hemp is in the same family as marijuana, the plants are very different. For starters, you can't get high from hemp. Hemp does not contain THC, the psychoactive chemical found in marijuana.

However, the researchers tell us there are a lot of positive uses for hemp. It's why they have started to grow it here in Pennsylvania.

After decades of growing acres of cash crops at his family's farm near Milton, Abram Ziegler--better known as Buckey--has learned a thing or two about resilience.

"Patience, you have to like to work hard," said Ziegler.

It's hard work from lawmakers and researchers that brought us to Ziegler's farm. For the first time in over 80 years, a new law allows permit holders to grow up to five acres of industrial hemp for research purposes.

Some of the first seeds were planted on Ziegler's farm this week.

"There are people who are curious and people who need to be educated about what this is that we are growing," Ziegler said.

The signs around Ziegler's farm read, "Please leave alone. THC is nil." Essentially if you try to smoke this stuff, you're not getting high.

"Hopefully that will at least deter them somewhat," said Ziegler.

Hemp seed has similar nutritional value to flaxseed and it smells like sunflowers.

Pennsylvania Hemp Company is just one of 13 groups in the state that now has a permit to plant industrial hemp.

Industrial hemp can be used in foods, clothing, even buildings.

Adam Thompson and his group are researching the plant. They hope to sell the oils and meal locally.

"Once you educate yourself about it, you start to look at it as you look at corn, an agricultural commodity, and that's the way it should be used," Thompson said.

Pennsylvania Hemp expects locally grown hemp seed oil will be ready to sell in grocery stores, including Wegman's, by this fall.

5 comments

  • RicU.

    (Patriotic background music playing.)

    Before the dummies get in here, let’s CALL ON OUR NATIONAL HERITAGE and the heroic American Farmers who used their lands to GROW “WEED” to SUPPORT THE WAR EFFORT in WWII. Yes, boys and girls, Uncle Sam’s farmers grew marijuana for the hemp so the products of the AMERICAN factories to fight the war could be shipped to our Marines, Sailors and Soldier.. Our Merchant Marine and Navy won the war by tying down cargo with hemp which was the strongest twine available.

    Now you know where the origin of “You’re smoking some bad rope.”

    Uncle Sugar was the Johnny Appleseed of marijuana even though it was highly illegal.

      • Givemeabreak

        They also have no freedom of speech, no freedom of religion and no due process. I guess in your mind Russia is OK as long as they aren’t black or don’t have rags on their heads. Go for it and move there if you like Comrade and see how long you last being an American in Russia. Don’t let the door hit you on the way out with the rest of the trash.

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