As the hemp industry grows and develops, it becomes increasingly difficult to
navigate without the proper resources. Harrison Grant, a graduate student, recently
wrapped up a project for the Pennsylvania Hemp Steering Committee which takes a
step towards finding a solution to this problem. Alongside Ron Kander and Cynthia
Petrone-Hudock, two leadership members of the PA Steering Committee, Grant created
a directory of all the permitted hemp growers, processors, and testing labs in
Pennsylvania. This comprehensive list of resources will help people in the industry
takes steps towards making their businesses successful.
The directory is formatted as a spreadsheet with columns labeled with the name,
location, and contact information for each business and the types of services they
provide including turnaround time. The directory will be updated continually to provide the most recent information available.
In an interview with Harrison Grant, he discussed some of his findings from his
data analysis of the research for the project. Grant explained, “The most surprising thing
that I learned was the kind of accreditations that a lot of these businesses have.” He
further explained that the accreditations vary by the type of business, but some of the
businesses focus on accreditations from international bodies while some focus on
national groups. For example, labs strive for accreditation from the International Accrediation Service. Other businesses in the hemp industry seek accreditation from national industry groups like the US Hemp Authority or government agencies like the FDA or USDA. This information is continually being updated in the directory.
The main goal of this project was to build a database that people could use to
navigate the hemp industry and connect with other hemp businesses. The spreadsheet
is made efficient through the use of filters, which narrow the results the viewer is
searching for. For example, the viewer could use the filters to find results for labs in
Bucks County, PA with an ISO accreditation. In an interview with Grant he discussed the
process of sifting through the research data and choosing what was most relevant and
how to best present the information. There was a great deal of thoughtfulness put into
this database in an attempt to strengthen PA’s hemp industry and begin to bring down
the barriers associated with the hemp industry. Grant explained in the interview how
valuable the experience of connecting on a direct level with the people behind these
businesses was because they can provide firsthand information which is important in
research and data analysis.
The database is live on the Pennsylvania Hemp Steering Committee’s website
under the Resources tab. The availability of this tool to hemp businesses is one step
towards growing and strengthening the hemp industry.