A List Of Legal Hemp States in the USA

Hemp Legal States

The relationship between hemp and the US has always been quite complicated, as you’d get to know when you know how legal hemp states in the USA got their statuses. There was a time when it was one of the most important crops in the US. After 1937, however, things changed drastically. The Marihuana Act was passed that year by the Federal Government, banning the cultivation of marijuana as well as industrial hemp.

Small scale hemp farming existed during World War II, however, after the 1940s it was completely stopped. Hemp had completely disappeared from the country.

The Controlled Substances Act in 1970, classified cannabis under Schedule 1 substance which meant a huge potential of abuse and completely debarred for medical use. Thus, hemp wasn’t allowed to be used as a medical drug. However, on a state level, restrictions on cannabis varied from recreational to medicinal purposes and the laws heavily conflicted with the federal law.

But things slowly started changing under President Obama when the 2014 U.S. Farm Bill was signed in 2014. This bill recognized the importance of industrial hemp as a potential commercial crop which would benefit the country and bring in huge profits both for the farmers and for the industrial sectors. Thus, legal cultivation of hemp was finally permitted in the States. Following this, many states in the US finally started cultivating industrial hemp, though on a limited and experimental scale.

Things have changed a lot more under President Trump in 2018 Farm Bill.

Hemp Farming Act

The Hemp Farming Act was passed by the Federal Government in 2018, removing industrial hemp from Schedule 1 controlled substances. A Schedule 1 substance means drugs that are harmful and addictive for a human being and have no medicinal use. Cocaine and heroin are marked under Schedule 1 drugs.

Finally, American farmers are allowed to grow cannabis or hemp with less than 0.3% THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) for they are now treated the same as any other agricultural crops. After eighty years of activism, the US Federal has finally realized what many of us had realized before – that hemp is no drug at all.

In spring 2018, Kentucky was one of the first states to adopt similar rules to that of the Federal and started off with the cultivation of hemp. Since then, most states have changed their laws and adopted laws which were similar to the Federal law.

Though the laws vary from state to state, it is more or less legal to produce hemp in most American states. America is finally getting its staple agriculture back. This can greatly benefit America as it will revolutionize several of its key industries – textiles, biomass, natural gas, building materials among others.

The use of hemp for medicinal purposes is legal in thirty-three states. The other seventeen states have laws that restrict the cultivation of hemp or have strict regulations when it comes to the THC content so that more access can be given to products that have more amount of CBD (a less psychoactive component of Cannabis).

The recreational use of Cannabis is banned in the United States, however, the state laws may vary. There are 11 legal hemp states in the USA. They are Alaska, California, Colorado, Massachusetts, Illinois, Maine, Michigan, Nevada, Vermont, Washington, and Oregon.

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Best and Worst States To Grow Hemp

Keeping the law aside, we need to know about the climatic conditions and the terrains which are most suitable for the growth of hemp in the US.

Among all the legal Hemp States in the USA, South Dakota and Nebraska are most favorable for the growth of hemp.  However, none of the two states are taking enough steps to provide an easy way for the farmers to grow this cash crop. Two other states which have also debarred their states and the local farmers from the cultivation of hemp are New Hampshire and Idaho in spite of the Federal government legalizing it.

Kentucky, by far, is leading the country in hemp farming, legislation, and research. Colorado and Montana have also shown great efforts in planting and cultivating hemp. Colorado is one of those states which has extremely liberal laws when it comes to hemp as they are one of the few states to make recreational hemp legal.

Hemp laws in each State

1. Alabama

Earlier in the year 2019, Alabama accepted the application of 180 farmers who wanted to grow hemp in the state. More than 150 farmers went ahead to pay an amount of over a thousand dollars for the permit and obtain the state license.

However, they are strictly to follow 0.3% THC content as the crops will be strictly regulated. Their aim is to provide CBD oil and make hemp a profitable crop.

2. Alaska

A pilot program for hemp farming was passed in 2018 for industrial hemp in Alaska. The purpose of the pilot program was to educate people on the production and cultivation of industrial hemp.

Farmers do need special permission to grow hemp in this state. In fact, under Alaskan law, it is easier to grow marijuana or recreational hemp than industrial hemp.

3. Arizona

The federal government made hemp cultivation legal in 2018  but the processing of hemp cultivation in Arizona began in August 2019. About 200 residents were given permission to cultivate hemp with proper background checks for a year.

The Arizona Department of Agriculture maintains all their information and has complete details about their background as well as the application forms on their website.

4. Arkansas

Four major agricultural companies namely, Tree of Life Seeds Inc., Arkansas Hemp Genetics LLC, Friedrich Enterprises Inc., and Ozrak Botanical Farms LLC have been licensed to cultivate industrial hemp by the Arkansas Plant Board in their state.

They are working closely with companies in Kentucky to obtain hemp seeds that are high in quality and have a THC content of less than 0.3%.

5. California

The state of California removed industrial hemp from its list of Schedule 1 Controlled Substances and approved hemp farming on October 12, 2019, and are in effect from January 2020.

The California Department of Food and Agriculture has started issuing state licenses to agriculture and research companies who want to grow industrial hemp. However, it will be under the strict jurisdiction of the local county officials.

6. Colorado

The Department of Agriculture’s Industrial Health Program in Colorado takes care of hemp cultivation in the state. It was one of the first states to legalize hemp back in 2014.

The state has also legalized the growth of hemp with THC content above 0.3% but is strictly regulated by the state.

7. Connecticut

In 2019, the state approved a pilot program for hemp cultivation as they received a number of applications from farmers interested in cultivating industrial hemp. Thus, a bill to legalize hemp was passed unanimously by both houses in the General Assembly.

The state is yet to clarify the steps to produce and sell hemp products.

8. Delaware

As per the pilot program on August 28, 2018, the state allowed to grow industrial hemp for agricultural and research purposes only.

Also, the passage SB 266 gives Delaware the liberty to adopt its own policies and regulations which are necessary to cultivate hemp.

9. Florida

Florida has a pilot program that allows the growth of hemp for research in two universities Florida A& M and UF. The final interim was passed in October 2019, which come to action from January 1, 2020.

This will allow the cultivation of industrial hemp in the state for the very first time. The farmers seeking permission need to approach the Consumer Services and the Florida Department of Agriculture for a license.

10. Georgia

The Governor of Georgia signed a bill which allowed the cultivation of industrial hemp earlier in 2019.  Prior to that, he had signed a bill that restricted the cultivation of marijuana for medical purposes. Farmers have to pay $50 per acre in order to get their permits to cultivate hemp.

11. Hawaii

In 2018, Hawaii launched a pilot program that helped farmers grow hemp in this state. To cultivate hemp legally the citizens of the state have to approach the Hawaii State Department of Agriculture and get their license. Once, they are licensed they can get seeds from other states and start with the cultivation process.

12. Idaho

Despite the federal law hemp is still banned in Idaho. The ban is said to be on track to being removed by 2020.

13. Illinois

The state of Illinois passed the Industrial Hemp Act in spring 2019, which allows farmers to get licensed for hemp farming. However, if the THC level of hemp is above 0.7% it has to be destroyed.

An application fee of $100 is charged by the Illinois Department of Agriculture. Once the application is approved a further charge of $1000 needs to be paid for a three-year license, $700 for a two-year license and $375 for a 1-year license.

14. Indiana

Eric Holcomb, the Governor of Indiana just signed a bill on May 2, which makes the cultivation of industrial hemp in the state legal. The law came into effect from July 2019.

The farmers are required to take a license from the state to cultivate this crop.

15. Lowa

The Governor of Iowa, Kim Reynolds signed a bill in April 2019, which legalizes hemp farming in the state. The bill is to come to effect from spring next year.

Currently, the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship are working with USDA to draft regulations on the same.

16. Kansas

The Kansas State Research Extension has legalized the cultivation of hemp. This year farmers can now seek permission for a license to grow hemp for research in the Kansas Department of Agriculture. After more research, the final draft of the regulations was expected to be formed in October 2019.

17. Kentucky

Kentucky is one of the largest hemp producing states in the USA and has played an important role in paving the way to making hemp in this country legal. More than a thousand permits have been given to the farmers as per the State Agriculture Commissioner and are cultivating up to 42,000 acres of hemp in 2019. The number has increased by 3 times since 2018.

The Kentucky Department of Agriculture makes sure that the farms are regularly inspected and only deserving farmers get the license.

18. Louisiana

The State Hemp Plan of Louisiana was approved by USDA on December 23, 2019. Regulations have been made regarding the sale of CBD products in the state. This state has some of the strictest rules when it comes to hemp.

19. Maine

The Department of Agriculture in the state of Maine has been recently reviewing its application on growing hemp. A new law was passed earlier this year that recognized CBD oil as a food product instead of medicine. The state has 163 licensed farmers who are permitted to cultivate help for industrial uses as well as CBD oil.

20. Maryland

The Maryland Department of Agriculture only allows hemp cultivation for research purposes.

The state has no restrictions on the number of acres that can be used by farmers to cultivate hemp.

21. Massachusetts

The Massachusetts Department of Agriculture is supposed to look after the cultivation of industrial hemp and the licensing process. There are three different kinds of a license under MDA, the grower’s license, the processor’s license and the third kind of license which is applicable to those who grow as well as process hemp.

As per the state law, no agricultural land can be used to cultivate hemp. This raises the tax rate for this crop, therefore, there’s a need to make immediate changes in the law to make hemp economically viable in the state.

22. Michigan

The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development allows farmers with proper eligibility to grow hemp in their farms. In 2018, the state of Michigan approved the Taxation and Regulation of Marijuana Act. Michigan lawmakers are now trying to work out ways to expand hemp farming in the state.

23. Minnesota

In Minnesota, hemp farmers are bound to follow a pilot program until the USDA does not approve the State’s Plan. To get licensed the Minnesota Department of Agriculture gives a permit to farmers who are interested to cultivate hemp for good one year’s time. The state lawmakers are trying to come up with permanent laws regarding hemp farming.

However, the farmers have to keep taking permission from the pilot program until USDA approves the state laws.

24. Mississippi

Mississippi has voted out industrial hemp from the list of controlled substances. However, no hemp farming has begun in this state. Currently, the state legislature is waiting for approval from the US Department of Agriculture.

25. Missouri

There was a time when hemp was the staple crop of Missouri. Currently, under the Missouri Department of Agriculture, there are only two licensees for hemp cultivation. They are BeLeaf Company and Noah’s Arc Foundation. Also, no more than 40 acres of land can be used to cultivate hemp.

The farmers, as well as the state’s citizens, are trying their best to get the old status of hemp back. The new law SB 482 immensely supports this movement and promotes easing of restrictions and abolish acreage limits and make hemp research in universities easier.

26. Montana

The state of Montana has progressive laws when it comes to legalizing industrial hemp. Hemp with less than 0.3% THC is commonly recognized as a commercial crop. Last year more than 20,000 acres of land were used to cultivate hemp in this state.

The farmers need to get a license from the Montana Department of Agriculture. To cultivate hemp, farmers are required to get licensed twice, once when a farmer purchases seeds and starts with the plantation process and second when they need to grow, sell or transport hemp.

27. Nebraska

The climate in Nebraska is ideal for growing industrial hemp. The Nebraska Hemp Act was passed in 2019. Any place which cultivates corn is great for hemp cultivation and Nebraska owns corn production in the States. However, growing hemp for recreational purposes still remains illegal in this state as of now.

28. Nevada

The Nevada Department of Agriculture has made hemp farming legal in the state for eligible farmers. It is currently working on the permits and ways to regulate the production of this crop. The limit on hemp farming land has not been decided yet.

29. New Hampshire

The bill to legalize industrial hemp has been proposed by the state legislature and seems to have huge support from people across the state. However, as of now hemp farming still remains illegal in this state.

30. New Jersey

The New Jersey Department of Agriculture passed a bill, legalizing hemp last year in November 2018, which was a month before the Federal government passed the law.

The state recognizes industrial hemp as a commercial crop but is currently waiting for more specific guidelines from the United States Department of Agriculture.

31. New Mexico

The state of New Mexico legalized hemp in April 2019. The Department of Health has been assigned to look after the production of medical marijuana. The Department of Agriculture is assigned to regulate hemp cultivation in this state.

32. New York

The state of New York has been expanding its Research Pilot Program on industrial hemp since last year. The NY Department of Agriculture and Markets is also taking steps to encourage more people to come and take part in this research pilot program.

The state is also encouraging farmers to cultivate this crop for fiber, seeds and CBD oil.

33. North Carolina

The state of North Carolina still follows the Industrial Hemp Pilot Program which was authorized in 2017. The state lawmakers are, however, waiting for more updated guidelines after hemp being legalized by the Federal in 2018.

North Carolina Department of Agriculture charges a fee of $250 from each license holder. The annual fee to cultivate hemp is $250 for up to 49 acres and $500 for 50 or more acres. Also, they need to pay $2 each acre or square foot greenhouse. Lastly, the farmers need to make an additional payment for THC inspection and testing.

34. North Dakota

The state of North Dakota is waiting for more precise and updated guidelines from the USDA and is currently regulating under the Pilot Program for Industrial Hemp authorized in 2014.

The farmers who are interested to cultivate hemp can simply apply for a permit and they will be licensed shortly after a background check. They can then become a part of the academic or agricultural research program.

35. Ohio

On July 30, 2019, the Ohio Senate unanimously voted out industrial hemp out from the list of controlled substances and legalized its cultivation in the state.

The state is now on its way to create a licensing program so that more and more farmers interested can grow hemp. The Ohio Department of Agriculture is trying is best to make the procedure faster and get started with the hemp plantation from early 2020.

36. Oklahoma

Earlier this year, the Governor of the state Kevin Stitt signed the legislation which stated the guidelines for the cultivation of industrial hemp. The remaining days of this year will remain under a pilot program.

The Oklahoma Department of Agriculture expects to see a minimum plantation of 1300 acres by the end of 2019, which is thrice the amount of plantation done in 2018. The year 2020 will witness full-scale hemp farming in this state.

37. Oregon

The Oregon Department of Agriculture has legalized commercial hemp in the state and is now developing laws that will regulate the production of industrial hemp in this state. The farmers are given licenses on an annual basis.

Presently, Oregon is following the tentative guidelines of the Farm Bill 2018.

38. Pennsylvania

The state of Pennsylvania legalized industrial hemp at the time when the Farm Bill was passed. The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture includes compulsory monitoring, regulating and permitting.

The state legislature is trying its best to simplify the framework of cultivation, processing and navigate the market for industrial hemp. The farmers interested to grow hemp can get permits from the PDA website.

39. Rhode Island

Rhode Island is one of the top hemp producing states in the country. The state legalized the cultivation of industrial hemp back in 2016. The state’s pilot program highly encouraged the growth of hemp in the state.

Also, more and more farmers are being licensed every day in this state. Another company has applied for a license to process CBD oil. Thus, the future of hemp looks very promising in this state.

40. South Carolina

Before the Hemp Farming Act was passed in 2018, South Carolina had strict laws when it comes to hemp production. The state’s pilot program allowed the license to only 40 farmers in the state.

However, after the bill was passed by the Federal Government, the Senate passed new laws in February 2019 which eased restrictions to a great extent on hemp cultivation. The Department of Agriculture has a limit to the acreage on hemp plantation but anyone who qualifies the background check can get a license to produce hemp easily.

41. South Dakota

The legislators of South Dakota passed a bill to legalize industrial hemp after it being legalized by the Federal Government. However, Governor Kristi Neom expressed concern about it being made legal and vetoed it. The governor felt that distinguishing marijuana from hemp isn’t really possible. Hence, industrial hemp still remains illegal in this state.

42. Tennessee

The license for industrial hemp is processed by the state’s pilot program. The state has made licensing of industrial hemp easier as well as expanded its cultivation. The state has licensed over 1000 farmers in 2019.

43. Texas

The state has issued a bill namely, the House Bill 1325 which proposes to make industrial hemp and its extracts legal in the state legal. However, the lawmakers in Texas seem to drag the bill despite the government being in complete support of the bill. Thus, no pilot program has been issued for growing industrial hemp in this state yet.

44. Utah

The state of Utah legalized hemp in December 2018. The residents of Utah do not need to get themselves registered to process CBD oil in this state. However, a license is required when farmers want to cultivate hemp in their farms.

The website of the Utah Department of Agriculture is availing applications for those who are interested to grow hemp. Also, Utah State University is conducting extensive research to find the exact strain of Cannabis with optimal CBD level but less than 0.3% THC level.

45. Vermont

Hemp with less than 0.3% THC is recognized as an agricultural crop by the Vermont Department of Food and Markets. The agency is presently working on the guidelines and regulations of hemp farming in this state in accordance with both the state and federal law.

46. Virginia

The state of Virginia legalized industrial hemp on March 21, 2019. Prior to that hemp was only allowed to be cultivated for research purposes only. The registered farmers are allowed to cultivate hemp for commercial purposes strictly.

The Virginia governor’s website gives complete details on Industrial  Hemp Growers Registration. An application bill of $50 needs to be paid.

47. Washington

Before the Hemp Bill came to action in 2018, the state of Washington had a pilot program in accordance with the Farm Bill in 2014. The state accepts industrial hemp as a cash crop.

New permits are being issued by the Washington Department of Agriculture to the farmers every day. Also, they are establishing new guidelines that comply with both the state and federal laws for hemp cultivation.

48. West Virginia

The state of West Virginia issued the Industrial Hemp Act where it recognizes hemp as an agricultural and commercial product, however, it should have a THC level of 0.3%.

The residents of the state can apply for a license after proper background checks stating the region they want to cultivate hemp in. Also, Institutes and Universities can obtain a license to grow hemp for research purposes.

49. Wisconsin

The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture Trade and Consumer Protection continues to regulate hemp production under the 2014 pilot program.

After passing the Farm Bill in 2018, more and more people and businesses started applying for hemp production and processing permits. Currently, there are over 2000 applications while the state has licensed 247 farmers and hemp processors.

The U.S. has progressed by far in hemp cultivation with its new laws and immense support from its people and legislation. It is soon to take over the international hemp market. We hope you enjoyed learning so much about legal hemp states in the US.

50. Wyoming

This state was one of the last states to remove hemp from the list of controlled substances. Wyoming is expected to launch a really tough competitive market for hemp in the country.

Presently the lawmakers of the state are establishing guidelines for hemp production and will issue permits in accordance with USDA regulations.

The U.S. has progressed by far in hemp cultivation with its new laws and immense support from its people and legislation. It is soon to take over the international hemp  market. We hope you enjoyed learning so much about legal hemp states in the US.

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