Pennsylvania is eyeing a major expansion of its resurgent industrial hemp industry, offering more than three times the number of permits currently issued as part of a pilot program.

Hemp, once a major cash crop used to make rope and other textiles, returned to the state last year as the state approved 16 research projects that cultivated less than 50 acres.

In 2018, the state plans to open 50 permits that, combined, may cultivate a maximum of 5,000 acres. The permits themselves are also expanded.

Individual growers and institutions of higher education will be able to grow 100 acres each compared to last year's five-acre restriction.

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Wallace McKelvey ~ PennLive.com