Pennsylvania's House of Representatives Loves Hemp

So much so that they’d like to legalize it, ASAP.

Hemp maze in France, via Wikimedia Commons.

Pennsylvania's House of Representatives loves hemp. Industrial hemp. In fact, they love it so much that the Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee approved the newly-introduced House Bill 967 within minutes of introduction, sending it to the house floor for debate and vote.

House Bill 967, introduced by Representative Russ Diamond on Tuesday (October 6), would allow industrial hemp to be grown or cultivated by special programs in Pennsylvania. Currently, American companies must import industrial hemp from countries such as Canada and China, blockading what has historically been one of America's largest markets.

Pennylvania's move, which mirrors those taken by other states, could potentially open up a number of doors for commercial uses, which would benefit the planet given hemp's low impact on the environment.

"The feds are catching on to the enormous environmental and economic benefits of the use of industrial hemp, and this pilot program anticipates the full legalization of hemp crops for industrial purposes in the future," said Diamond in a statement. "My bill will put Pennsylvania in a position to reap the economic rewards that will come when further barriers are removed."

A hemp crop in Peasenhall Road, Walpole, Suffolk, UK, via Wikimedia Commons.

Hemp, an incredibly resilient crop, can grow in a number of climate and soil types, and is largely pest-resistant. It can be used in everything from clothing and home installation to oils (including fuel), food items and paper production. In fact, paper products can be made with very few chemicals unlike with conventional paper mills, which use chlorine bleach to brighten products. A bit more obviously, hemp grows much faster than trees used in paper products, which would be a major coup for the environment. And these are just a small fraction of its existing and potential uses.
As with other states, Pennsylvania's House Bill 967 grew out of an amendment to a the 2014 federal Farm Bill. Signed into law by President Obama, this bill legally redefined industrial hemp as distinct from marijuana, opening the doors for states to pursue academic, state department and commercial research into its benefits as an agricultural crop.
If House Bill 967 passes the Pennsylvania house, the state will join 24 other states in industrial hemp research, including California, Hawaii, West Virginia and New York, amongst others.

McDonalds sells a lot of coffee. Over a billion cups a year, to be exact. All that coffee leads to a lot of productive mornings, but it also leads to a lot of waste. Each year, millions of pounds of coffee chaff (the skin of the coffee beans that comes off during roasting) ends up getting turned into mulch. Some coffee chaff just gets burned, leading to an increase in CO2.

Now, that chaff is going to get turned into car parts. Ford is incorporating coffee chaff from McDonalds coffee into the headlamps of some cars. Ford has been using plastic and talc to make its headlamps, but this new process will reduce the reliance on talc, a non-renewable mineral. The chaff is heated to high temperatures under low oxygen and mixed with plastic and other additives. The bioplastic can then be formed into shapes.

Keep Reading Show less

For over 20 years, our country has perceived itself as more divided than united, and it's not getting better. Right after the 2016 election, a poll conducted by Gallup found that 77% of Americans felt the country was divided on the most important values, a record high.

The percentage of Americans who agree that we disagree got higher. During the 2018 mid-term elections, a poll conducted by NBC News/Wall Street Journal found that 80% of Americans felt the nation was "mainly" or "totally" divided.

We head into the 2020 presidential election more divided than ever. A new poll from USA Today found that nine out of ten respondents felt it was important to do something about the conflict in our country. We can't keep on living like this forever.

Keep Reading Show less
via Honor Africans / Twitter

The problem with American Sign Language (ASL) is that over 500,000 people in the U.S. use it, but the country has over 330 million people.

So for those with hearing loss, the chances of coming into contact with someone who uses the language are rare. Especially outside of the deaf community.

Keep Reading Show less