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Is Hemp Legal to Grow? List of Hemp Laws State By State

Is Hemp Legal to Grow? List of Hemp Laws State By State

Is Hemp Legal

You must have come across pieces of information detailing the benefits of hemp-derived products. However, one question that also comes to mind is, “Is hemp legal?” There have been many changes in the laws guiding the cultivation of this plant. This piece will explicitly explain the legality of hemp plants and state laws concerning industrial Hemp.

Growing Hemp and the Law

Is Hemp legal to grow in the United States? The short answer is yes. The 2018 Farm Bill removed hemp plants from the Controlled Substances Act. However, states control the regulatory structure through the U.S Department of Agriculture (USDA). No one can grow or process hemp plants without obtaining a license from their state department of Agriculture.

In Kentucky, for example, there are penalties for people who cultivate Hemp without a license. These penalties are the same as those applicable to people who violate the law relating to marijuana.

But, what happens in a case where the state doesn’t have an approved or pending production plan? In this scenario, you can apply directly to the USDA for a production license.

State Industrial Hemp Statuses

State legislatures, to begin with, took steps towards promoting Hemp as an agricultural product. Also, they established state-licensed hemp programs. Up to this time, a wide range of industries uses Hemp in producing many goods and products. Some of these are paper, textiles, and construction materials. Food, beverages, cosmetics, and paints are also inclusive.

Although hemp and marijuana products are from the cannabis plant, there are distinctions. Generally, Hemp is distinguished from marijuana by its low tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) concentration.

Federal Action

In December 2018, President Trump signed the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018. Also known as The 2018 Farm Bill, this changed the federal policy regarding Hemp. Overall, Is Hemp legal on a Federal level? Absolutely.

This legalization, however, wasn’t without any restrictions. The Bill defines Hemp as a cannabis Sativa L species containing not more than 0.3% delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).

Before the 2018 Bill, the 2014 Farm Bill authorized universities and state departments of agriculture to grow Hemp. They were allowed to grow hemp plants as part of research or pilot programs.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is the federal agency in control of the regulations guiding hemp cultivation. In 2019, the USDA issued a rule outlining the programs for growing Hemp. In this ruling, it states that interstate transportation of Hemp is legal. Even if the shipment goes through a state that doesn’t allow hemp production.

State Action

Is Hemp legal to grow in your state? State policymakers have put into consideration various policy issues with regards to hemp status. Hemp definition, regulation and certification of seeds, license and legal protection of growers are some of these issues. In at least 47 states, they have endorsed legislation to establish hemp cultivation programs.

2019 Legislation Update

In 2019, Puerto Rico and 48 states deliberated over 200 bills associated with Hemp’s production and regulation. Connecticut, Iowa, Georgia, Texas, Ohio, and Georgia enacted legislation to establish state hemp programs. Others like Kansas, Florida, Oklahoma, and Maryland endorsed legislation to expand or rename current programs. New Hampshire formed a house committee to study the federal guideline on growing Hemp. While Mississippi established a hemp cultivation task force too.

2018 Legislation Update

About 38 states considered hemp-related legislation in 2018. These bills clarified existing industrial hemp laws. It also established new programs and licensing requirements. States that already had existing industrial hemp programs considered their policies. Some of these issues are related to funding, licensure, funding, seed certification, and others. Tennessee, for instance, included Hemp in its Commercial Feed Law. At least 6 states enacted legislation to establish hemp research and industrial hemp pilot programs. These states include Arizona, Alaska, New Jersey, Oklahoma, and Missouri.

Is Hemp legal to Grow?

State Laws Related to Industrial Hemp

Answering the question Is Hemp legal is dependent on state laws. Below is a summary of some of the laws related to industrial Hemp in Hemp legal states.


Forms an industrial hemp research program to study Hemp, directed by the Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries.

Also, the department may coordinate this study with institutions of higher education.


Authorizes the Department of Natural Resources or an institution of higher education to create hemp pilot programs.

Allows the commissioner of Natural Resources to adopt regulations related to industrial Hemp.

Defines cannabidiol oil and industrial Hemp. Also amends the definition of marijuana and hash oil.


Establishes the Industrial Hemp Trust Fund. Also approves a pilot program for the research, cultivation, growth, and advertising of industrial Hemp.

Allows commercial production, processing, and manufacturing of Hemp.

Directs the Arizona Department of Agriculture to establish an industrial hemp council. Also directs the department to adopt rules for licensing, production, and management of Hemp.


Establishes the Arkansas Industrial Hemp Program.

Approves that the State Plant Board adopt rules for administering the research program and license people to grow Hemp. Also requires that the Board submits an annual report.

Besides, the University of Arkansas’ Division of Agriculture and the state’s Economic Development Commission can work with the Board.


Establishes the registration for seed breeders

Also agrees to a commercial hemp program. The Industrial Hemp Advisory Board within the California Department of Food and Agriculture supervises it.


Allows hemp cultivation for commercial and research purposes directed by the Industrial Hemp Committee under the Department of Agriculture.

Establishes seed certification and grant programs for state institutions of higher education as well.


Requires licenses for the cultivation and processing of industrial Hemp.

Forms an agricultural pilot program for hemp research. Also directs the Department of Agriculture to prepare a state plan.


Creates an industrial hemp research program directed by the Delaware Department of Agriculture.

Next, permits the department to certify institutions of higher education to grow Hemp for research purposes.


Establishes the state hemp program and provides a requirement for distribution and sales of hemp extract.

The Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services oversees the development of industrial hemp pilot projects at individual universities.


Provides licensing requirements for hemp growers and processors as part of the state hemp plan.

Then, removes regulated hemp and hemp products from the definition of marijuana as controlled substances.


Hawaii Department of Agriculture directs the industrial hemp pilot program.

Equally permits the state Board of Agriculture to certify hemp seeds.


Establishes an industrial hemp pilot program. Therefore, the Department of Agriculture and institutions of higher education grow Hemp for research purposes.

Also requires that the institutions of higher education provide annual reports to the department.


Allows the production and possession of industrial hemp farms by licensed growers for commercial and research purposes.

Growers and handlers of hemp seeds must obtain a production license.


Directs the Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship to create a program, including licensing, annual inspections, and fees. And to also submit a state plan to USDA.


Establishes the Alternative Crop Research Act to promote the research and development of industrial Hemp.

Allows the Kansas Department of Agriculture (KDA) to cultivate and promote research and development of industrial Hemp. This can be either alone or in coordination with a state institute of higher education.

Directs KDA to supervise annual licensing, establish fees, and propagate rules and regulations.


Creates the Industrial Hemp Commission, attached to the Agricultural Experiment Station. They manage licensing, testing, and implementation of regulations and rules.

Establishes industrial hemp research and commercial licensing programs to allow hemp cultivation for legal purposes.


Authorizes industrial hemp research, cultivation, processing, and transportation. Also recognizes industrial Hemp as an agricultural commodity.

Excludes legally allowed hemp and industrial hemp-derived CBD products from the Uniform Controlled Dangerous Substances Law.


Allows growing Hemp for commercial purposes.

Establishes a license allowing seed distribution as well.


Establishes a license allowing individuals to plant, grow, harvest, possess, or process industrial Hemp in the state.

Also approves the Department of Agriculture or any institution of higher education to grow Hemp for research.


Directs the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources (MDAR) and Commissioner of Agriculture to implement rules and regulations.

Allows for the planting, possession, or sales of Hemp for research or commercial purposes under regulations of the MDAR.

Requires producers and distributors to obtain a license issued by MDAR. Also, persons utilizing Hemp for commercial or research purposes must register with MDAR.


Establishes an industrial hemp research program. This program allows the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development to grow Hemp for research purposes.


Creates a commercial hemp licensing program superintended by the Minnesota commissioner of agriculture.

Also, applicants must prove they comply with the federal hemp regulations.

Further allows the commissioner to implement an industrial hemp pilot program.


Establishes an industrial hemp agricultural pilot program, per federal law.

Then, directs the Missouri Department of Agriculture to set and implement rules for establishing permit and registration fees.


Chiefly, commercial growers must only use certified seeds.

Also, the state’s Department of Agriculture implements a commercial hemp licensing program.


Postsecondary institutions or the state’s department of agriculture can grow Hemp for research purposes.


Allows the state’s department of agriculture to grow Hemp for research purposes. The institutions of higher education likewise.

Also directs the Nevada Board of Agriculture to implement an industrial hemp pilot program.

New Hampshire

Permits institutions of higher learning to cultivate Hemp for research purposes.

Creates a committee to study the growth and sale of industrial Hemp in the state.

New Jersey

Authorizes New Jersey Department of Agriculture to create a pilot program to research the cultivation of industrial Hemp.

Also excludes anyone in the program from penalties related to marijuana.

New Mexico

Directs the New Mexico Department of Agriculture to implement rules for the research and development of industrial Hemp.

Then, creates the New Mexico Industrial Hemp Research and Development Fund.

New York

Accepts the growth of Hemp as part of an agricultural pilot program.

The commissioner of agriculture and markets may authorize no more than ten sites for growing Hemp.

North Carolina

Establishes an agricultural hemp pilot program managed by the North Carolina Industrial Hemp Commission.

The commission must also collaborate with North Carolina A&T State University and North Carolina State University.

North Dakota

Permits hemp cultivation for commercial or research purposes.

Growers must use certified seeds. Also, licensees may import, resell and plant hemp seeds.

Additionally, the State University-Main Research Center can research industrial Hemp and hemp seeds.


Firstly, excludes Hemp from the definition of marijuana in controlled substances law.

Then, directs the Department of Agriculture to create a hemp program for cultivation, processing, and other regulations.


Establishes the Oklahoma Industrial Hemp Agriculture Pilot Program.

Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food, and Forestry manages the pilot program. Also establishes a certified seed program and implements licensing and inspection rules.


Persons who register by the Oregon Department of Agriculture can grow Hemp for commercial purposes.

Growers who intend to sell or distribute seeds must also have a license as seed producers.


Permits institutions of higher education and the Department of Agriculture of the commonwealth to research Hemp.

Rhode Island

Creates a commercial hemp program managed by the Department of Business Regulation.

This department authorizes institutions to grow Hemp for research purposes.

South Carolina

Permits individuals to grow them for research and commercial purposes.

South Dakota

Authorizes hemp growth and production with a license.

Requires at least five contiguous outdoor acres for license application. Also, applicants will submit to a state and federal criminal background investigation.


Firstly, the state’s department of agriculture oversees commercial hemp production.

Institutions of higher education can also acquire seeds for research purposes.


Texas Department of Agriculture endorses rules for hemp production, licensing, testing, seed certification, and fees.

Expressly forbids hemp products for smoking.


The Utah Department of Agriculture grows Hemp for research purposes.

The department also certifies institutions of higher learning to grow Hemp for research purposes.


The Vermont secretary of agriculture, food, and markets direct commercial hemp production.


Directs the Virginia Board of Agriculture and Consumer Services to oversee research and commercial hemp programs. The commissioner of agriculture and human services also works with the Board.

There are separate licenses for research programs and commercial growers.


Washington State Department of Agriculture oversees hemp production as part of a research program.

Directs the department to establish a seed certification program.

West Virginia

The West Virginia Commissioner of Agriculture licenses hemp production for commercial purposes.

Growers must use seeds that produce plants with less than 1 percent THC.


Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) establish a state industrial hemp program.

Directs the DATCP to establish and administer a seed certification program. Also, they can elect another agency or organization to administer the program.

Includes industrial hemp as an agricultural commodity.


Authorizes the planting, possession, processing, or sale of industrial Hemp for individuals with a license.

Legalizing Hemp will be a High Jump for the CBD Industry

The history of Hemp shows that this plant is an excellent resource for manufacturing many products. However, since 1970, cannabis plants, which Hemp is among was included in the Controlled Substances Act.

The truth about Hemp is it wasn’t a drug substance before its inclusion in the controlled substances. That is because it contains less than 0.3% THC.

Now that the growing Hemp is legal, researchers will have access to study its compound, CBD. And, this will definitely boost the CBD industry. Also, agricultural advances are going on, like growing Hemp in a greenhouse.

The Bottom Line

What should bother individuals who ask the Is hemp legal question isn’t the federal law. The 2018 Farm Bill legalized hemp production. Also, this Bill defines Hemp as a cannabis plant containing no more than 0.3% THC. So, in the U.S., growing Hemp is legal on a federal level within the threshold. However, different states have regulations and restrictions.

Furthermore, the 2018 Farm Bill allows states and tribes to apply for the primary regulatory authority. This Bill permits states and tribes to control the production of Hemp in their region. The state will submit a plan which must include requirements like disposal of non-compliant plants and products. The USDA will review these plans and issue a decision within 60 days of submission. The USDA can either approve or disapprove the plan. If approved, it remains effective, except revoked by the USDA.

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