LANCASTER – State Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding opened the 2022 PA Hemp Summit, welcoming nearly 100 hemp growers to the conference being held in Lancaster.Redding highlighted nearly $1 million in Wolf Administration investments strengthening PA’s hemp industry. The summit provides a platform for growers, entrepreneurs, and industry experts to share ideas and address challenges while growing the next generation of agricultural entrepreneurs. The 2014 federal Farm Bill authorized the growth of hemp for agricultural research. Gov. Tom Wolf signed Act 92 in 2016 to establish a pilot program sought to grow research opportunities to better understand the value and viability of industrial hemp as a cash crop. That program paved the way for Act 46, which provided the Controlled Plant & Noxious Weed Committee the authority to approve industrial hemp production as a controlled plant. PA became the second state in the nation to submit its plan for industrial hemp to the USDA, officially opening the program to commercial growing operations permitted by the PA Department of Agriculture. Industrial hemp was grown commercially in PA through the World War II era, but became regulated along with marijuana in the 1950s and 60s, prohibiting its cultivation. Industrial hemp and marijuana are different varieties of the same species of plant. Unlike marijuana, industrial hemp is grown for fiber and seed. The summit runs through tomorrow.