is it legal to grow hemp in pa

Cyber Crime

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Malicious cyber activity threatens the public’s safety and our national and economic security. The FBI’s cyber strategy is to impose risk and consequences on cyber adversaries. Our goal is to change the behavior of criminals and nation-states who believe they can compromise U.S. networks, steal financial and intellectual property, and put critical infrastructure at risk without facing risk themselves. To do this, we use our unique mix of authorities, capabilities, and partnerships to impose consequences against our cyber adversaries.

The FBI is the lead federal agency for investigating cyber attacks and intrusions. We collect and share intelligence and engage with victims while working to unmask those committing malicious cyber activities, wherever they are.

Learn more about what you can do to protect yourself from cyber criminals, how you can report cyber crime, and the Bureau’s efforts in combating the evolving cyber threat.

What You Should Know

Protect Yourself

  • Taking the right security measures and being alert and aware when connected are key ways to prevent cyber intrusions and online crimes. Learn how to protect your computer, network, and personal information.

Understand Common Crimes and Risks Online

  • Business e-mail compromise (BEC) scams exploit the fact that so many of us rely on e-mail to conduct business—both personal and professional—and it’s one of the most financially damaging online crimes.
  • Identity theft happens when someone steals your personal information, like your Social Security number, and uses it to commit theft or fraud.
  • Ransomware is a type of malicious software, or malware, that prevents you from accessing your computer files, systems, or networks and demands you pay a ransom for their return.
  • Spoofing and phishing are schemes aimed at tricking you into providing sensitive information to scammers.
  • Online predators are a growing threat to young people.
  • More common crimes and scams

Respond and Report

File a Report with the Internet Crime Complaint Center

If you are the victim of online or internet-enabled crime, file a report with the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) as soon as possible. Crime reports are used for investigative and intelligence purposes. Rapid reporting can also help support the recovery of lost funds. Visit for more information, including tips and information about current crime trends.

Contact Your FBI Field Office

If you or your organization is the victim of a network intrusion, data breach, or ransomware attack, contact your nearest FBI field office or report it at

Combating the Evolving Cyber Threat

Our adversaries look to exploit gaps in our intelligence and information security networks. The FBI is committed to working with our federal counterparts, our foreign partners, and the private sector to close those gaps.

These partnerships allow us to defend networks, attribute malicious activity, sanction bad behavior, and take the fight to our adversaries overseas. The FBI fosters this team approach through unique hubs where government, industry, and academia form long-term trusted relationships to combine efforts against cyber threats.

Within government, that hub is the National Cyber Investigative Joint Task Force (NCIJTF). The FBI leads this task force of more than 30 co-located agencies from the Intelligence Community and law enforcement. The NCIJTF is organized around mission centers based on key cyber threat areas and led by senior executives from partner agencies. Through these mission centers, operations and intelligence are integrated for maximum impact against U.S. adversaries.

Only together can we achieve safety, security, and confidence in a digitally connected world.

How We Work

Whether through developing innovative investigative techniques, using cutting-edge analytic tools, or forging new partnerships in our communities, the FBI continues to adapt to meet the challenges posed by the evolving cyber threat.

  • The FBI has specially trained cyber squads in each of our 56 field offices, working hand-in-hand with interagency task force partners.
  • The rapid-response Cyber Action Team can deploy across the country within hours to respond to major incidents.
  • With cyber assistant legal attachés in embassies across the globe, the FBI works closely with our international counterparts to seek justice for victims of malicious cyber activity.
  • The Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) collects reports of Internet crime from the public. Using such complaints, the IC3’s Recovery Asset Team has assisted in freezing hundreds of thousands of dollars for victims of cyber crime.
  • CyWatch is the FBI’s 24/7 operations center and watch floor, providing around-the-clock support to track incidents and communicate with field offices across the country.

The FBI Cyber Strategy

The FBI’s cyber strategy is to impose risk and consequences on cyber adversaries through our unique authorities, our world-class capabilities, and our enduring partnerships. Learn more (pdf)


National Defense Cyber Alliance (NDCA)

The NDCA brings together experts from the U.S. government and cleared defense contractors to share threat intelligence in real time, with the goal of improving the network security of NDCA member organizations and gaining a greater understanding of the cyber threat landscape.

National Cyber Forensics & Training Alliance (NCFTA)

Because of the global reach of cyber crime, no single organization, agency, or country can defend against it. Vital partnerships like the NCFTA have become an international model for bringing together law enforcement, private industry, and academia to build and share resources, strategic information, and threat intelligence to identify and stop emerging cyber threats and mitigate existing ones.

The FBI is the lead federal agency for investigating cyber attacks by criminals, overseas adversaries, and terrorists. The threat is incredibly serious—and growing.

Pennsylvania’s new hemp rules may hurt early farmers but boost the industry

Hemp could rocket to become one of Pennsylvania’s major cash crops under new regulations published last week by the state Department of Agriculture. At the same time, those new regulations could inadvertently crush small farmers who still are sitting on their 2019 hemp harvest.

Pioneering hemp farmers, who grew the crop under the state’s experimental pilot program, may find that their cannabis plants — now stored in barns and warehouses — may be too laden with the intoxicating substance THC to be approved for sale, legal experts said. Several thousands of acres of hemp were planted in Pennsylvania last year.

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  • Coming soon: ‘Jersey Fresh’ hemp. Anyone with a permit can farm it.
  • In their first year, U.S. hemp farmers struggle with bad weather, mold, inexperience

Under the state’s new standards and requirements, testing will be increased significantly for marijuana’s non-intoxicating cousin.

The act, which is effective immediately, “represents a fundamental change in how the hemp industry is regulated in Pennsylvania,” said Bill Roark, an attorney who is cochair of the Pennsylvania Bar Association’s Medical Marijuana and Hemp Law Committee.

According to the Department of Agriculture, hemp can be processed into thousands of products — including food, textiles, construction materials, oils, and the fashionable dietary supplement CBD. Analysts project that by 2025, hemp could become a $25 billion industry.

Farmers are looking at hemp as a lucrative crop. Where an acre of corn might generate $300 to $500 in profit, and tobacco $1,000 to $3,000, they expect some hemp varieties — those grown for CBD extraction — to fetch $10,000 or more.

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Applications to grow hemp and instructions were posted last week on the state Department of Agriculture’s website.

By definition industrial hemp may contain only 0.3 percent THC, the intoxicating compound in marijuana. Smokable medical marijuana flower — when it’s available — typically contains between 7% and 35% THC.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has said it will allow hemp producers some leeway, but not much. Any hemp containing over 0.5 percent THC must be destroyed.

Here’s where potential problems exist for last year’s hemp farmers.

Hemp grown in Pennsylvania last year was tested only for delta-9 THC, usually the most prevalent psychoactive cannabinoid in the plant. But in 2020, testing also will include THCA, a precursor compound that is converted to THC with the application of heat.

“A lot of growers produced plants where the delta-9 THC level was below 0.3, but the THCA level was well in excess, sometimes 1, 2, or 3 percent,” said Roark.

And that might explain why so many people who smoked hemp flower this past year reported getting high from it.

“They fixed that loophole, now I’m afraid that will render a lot of plants grown last year unusable,” Roark said. “There are barns and warehouses full of it. Some farmers have spent thousands of dollars growing it. By law, processors will have to reject the hemp because it will test ‘hot,’ that is, way above the acceptable 2020 levels.”

The vice president of Hoophouse, a Bucks County-based hemp grower and processor, said his company already has had to turn down a contract to process 80,000 pounds of hemp from an out-of-state producer. “It was over the THC limit so we had to refuse it,” said Matt Baxter. “So we’re aware that some farmers are having issues.”

Other than the new THC guidelines, most of the new regulations were greeted enthusiastically by Pennsylvania hemp experts.

“It’s definitely a step in the right direction,” said Erica Stark, the executive director of the Pennsylvania Hemp Industry Council. “The Pennsylvania program is as flexible as it can be while remaining compliant with federal law.”

Individual farmers may plant as many acres as they desire. But backyard hemp gardens are effectively forbidden — no hemp may be grown within 200 feet of a residential dwelling. Outdoor farmers must cultivate a minimum of 300 plants on at least a quarter acre. Indoor growers must maintain a minimum of 2,000 square feet and 200 plants. The price of a hemp permit — which was once $3,000 two years ago — has plummeted to $150.

Those provisions and permit price breaks may encourage more agricultural pros to consider hemp.

But Stark worries about the necessary infrastructure needed to ensure hemp crops find a market. Among the new regulations are requirements for THC testing at several stops along the supply chain. There may not be enough testing labs in the state to prevent serious bottlenecks. “There are only so many labs across the entire country,” she said. “I’m concerned about the logistics.”

There are also few processors capable of rendering hemp into sellable materials in the state. The new standards allow for stand-alone processor permits.

Among other notable standards in the new regulations:

Hemp may not be grown within three miles of any medical marijuana facility, which is likely intended to prevent cross pollination, and it must not be cultivated within 1,000 feet of any school pre-K through 12.

Anyone with a financial interest in producing or processing hemp must undergo an FBI background check.

Stark’s husband, Les Stark, is also a hemp activist, grower, and moderator of the Keystone Cannabis Coalition Facebook group. Though he’s optimistic about the future, he’s advising aspiring farmers to be cautious.

“I’ve been trying to build enthusiasm for 20 years,” Les Stark said. “Now I’m trying to tamp it down a little bit. I don’t want people to have 100 acres of hemp and not have a market. You don’t want to put seeds in the ground until you have a contract to sell it.

“I know farmers who were successful, but also know farmers who took a gamble but couldn’t find a buyer,” he said.

Hemp could rocket to become one of Pa.’s major cash crops under new regulations. But those regulations could inadvertently crush small farmers who still are sitting on their 2019 hemp harvest.