Congress is about to create a whole new industry in this country by legalizing hemp

Paul Kurtz
December 03, 2018 - 4:00 am
Hemp products

Paul Kurtz/KYW Newsradio

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — The long dormant hemp industry is about to return in a big way.

Pennsylvania has a long history with hemp, and it's expected to quickly get reacquainted with the very important crop again once the 2018 Farm Bill is approved.

"We expect it to take root here pretty quickly," said Erica McBride Stark, executive director of both the Pennsylvania Hemp Industry Council and the National Hemp Association.

And for Ron Kaufman, life is about to get a lot better. 

He is the owner of Hemp Headquarters in Willow Grove, and says legalized hemp will make life better for all of us.  

"It opens up a whole new industry for farmers, manufacturers, retailers, things like that," he said. 

Hemp products
Paul Kurtz/KYW Newsradio

Kaufman's business is centered around imported CBD, the medicinal compound in hemp that helps reduce pain, anxiety and inflammation, without the buzz you get from pot.   

CBD is already big business in this country but is currently unregulated. 

"You don't really know what's in it, that's the problem. Like any industry, there are a lot of bad actors and we know who they are. We won't stock them here but we know they're out there," he said. 

Hemp products
Paul Kurtz/KYW Newsradio

But there's a lot more to hemp than CBD.

Stark says it's the strongest natural fibre on earth. 

"It can be used to make a replacement for fiberglass insulation, to reinforce concrete. Hemp actually has properties that can conduct electricity," she explained. 

She says hemp will produce a seemingly endless array of products you can use, from heart healthy superfood seeds to clothing, jewelry and plastic. The CBD oil from hemp is already wildly popular in this country, and Stark believes that market will eventually generate billions of dollars in business. 

"Once that legal path is established you're going to see CBD in everything. You're gonna see it in creams and lotions and deodorant, as a dietary supplement and eventually you're going to see it everywhere," she said. 

So why was this safe, non-psychoactive miracle plant put on ice alongside its cousin marijuana back in the 1930s? 

"Because reefer madness was sweeping the nation and they were demonizing marijuana. They simply didn't have the scientific methods in order to easily differentiate hemp from marijuana so it was just easier to ban the whole thing," Stark said.