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.