State Industrial Hemp Statutes

State Industrial Hemp Statutes


hemp cloth

PLEASE NOTE: NCSL cannot provide advice or assistance to private citizens or businesses regarding industrial hemp laws or other related matters.  Please consult your state department of agriculture or a private attorney.

The final 2014 Farm Bill agreement included a provision that would allow institutions of higher education and state departments of agriculture to grow or cultivate industrial hemp.

It also requires that the sites used by universities and agriculture department be certified by—and registered with—their state department of agriculture. This provision will allow universities and agricultural departments to study industrial hemp for its possible future use as a commercial product.

Nineteen states--California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont and West Virginia—currently have laws to provide for hemp pilot studies and/or for production as described by the Farm Bill stipulations. 

Eight of these states—California, Colorado, Maine, Montana, North Dakota, Oregon, Vermont and West Virginia—sponsored hemp resolutions and have laws to promote the growth and marketing of industrial hemp.

Current state policies include:

  • Defining industrial hemp based on the percentage of tetrahydrocannabinol it contains.
  • Authorizing the growing and possessing of industrial hemp.
  • Requiring state licensing of industrial hemp growers.
  • Promoting research and development of markets for industrial hemp.
  • Excluding industrial hemp from the definition of controlled substances under state law.
  • Establishing a defense to criminal prosecution under drug possession or cultivation

State Statutes

CA FOOD & AG §81000-81010

  • Requires industrial hemp growers to be registered with the state.
  • Prohibits the possession of resin, flowering tops or leaves removed from the hemp plant.
  • Establishes registration and renewal fees for commercial growers of industrial hemp.
  • Organizes a five year review of industrial hemp's economic impact.
  • While legislation adding this section was enacted in 2013, the law specifies that its provisions do not become operative unless authorized by federal law.

CRS § 25-18.7-101 to -105

  • Permits growing and possessing industrial hemp.
  • Establishes industrial hemp remediation pilot program “to determine how soils and water may be made more pristine and healthy by phytoremediation, removal of contaminants, and rejuvenation through the growth of industrial hemp.”

Public Act No.14-191
(Enacted June 12, 2014; goes into effect on October 1, 2014)

  • Legalizes a feasibility study on industrial hemp.
  • Commissioners of Agriculture, Consumer Protection and Economic and Community Development shall study the feasibility of legalizing the production, possession, and sale of industrial hemp, respectively.
  • By Jan. 1, 2015, a report will be made to the legislature regarding “[…]said commissioners' recommendations on (1) establishing a statutory definition of "industrial hemp", based on the percentage of proposed tetrahydrocannabinol in such industrial hemp, as distinguished from marijuana, (2) amending the general statutes to exclude industrial hemp from the definition of "controlled substance" in section 21a-240 of the general statutes, and (3) establishing a licensing system for industrial hemp growers and sellers.”

Del. Code Ann. tit. 3, ch. 28, §2800-2803

  • Establishes the Industrial Hemp Research act,
  • Provides for academic research standards for industrial hemp.

S.B. 2175

  • “Authorizes the dean of the College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources at the University of Hawaii at Manoa to establish an industrial hemp remediation and biofuel crop research program;
  • requires a report on the rate of contamination uptake and efficient uptake from soil and water, the rate of carbon fixation in the Calvin cycle and the viability of industrial hemp as a biofuel feedstock;
  • clarifies that the term industrial hemp means the plant Cannabis Sativa L;
  • provides criminal and civil immunity.”

720 ILCS 550 § 15.2

  • Establishes Hemp Pilot Project
  •  (1) the industrial hemp is grown or cultivated for purposes of research conducted under an agricultural pilot program or other agricultural or academic research;
  • (2) the pilot program studies the growth, cultivation, or marketing of industrial hemp; and
  • (3) any site used for the growing or cultivating of industrial hemp is certified by, and registered with, the Department of Agriculture.
  • Before conducting industrial hemp research, the Department of Agriculture and local law enforcement must be informed in writing.
  • Institutions of higher education must provide quarterly and annual reports to the Department of agriculture and are subject to inspection.  The annual report is due on or before October 1.
  • Allows the Department of Agriculture to adopt rules to comply with federal rules or to adopt emergency rules deemed necessary to public interest safety and welfare.
  • Defines industrial hemp.

IC 15-15-13-7

  • “Industrial hemp is an agricultural product that is subject to regulation by the state seed commissioner.”
  • The state seed commissioner adopts rules and oversees licensing, production, and management of industrial hemp and agricultural hemp seed.
  • Sets the standards for application for hemp license and registration

KRS § 260.850-.869

  • Establishes research on industrial hemp and industrial hemp products.
  • "Industrial hemp means all parts and varieties of the plant cannabis sativa, cultivated or possessed by a licensed grower, whether growing or not, that contain a tetrahydrocannabinol concentration of one percent (1%) or less by weight, except that the THC concentration limit of one percent (1%) may be exceeded for licensed industrial hemp seed research.
  • "The Department of Agriculture shall promote the research and development of markets for Kentucky industrial hemp and hemp products after the selection and establishment of the industrial hemp research program and the Industrial Hemp Commission…"
  • Includes language that "Kentucky shall adopt the federal rules and regulations that are currently enacted regarding industrial hemp and any subsequent changes thereto."
  • On Feb. 19, 2014, Kentucky announced five pilot hemp projects that would be used across the state, including one project that would research whether industrial hemp could be used to remediate tainted soil.

7 M.R.S.A. § 2231

  • Requires industrial hemp growers be licensed by the state.
  • Permits a person to “plant, grow, harvest, possess, process, sell and buy industrial hemp” if that person holds a license.
  • Prohibits the state from issuing a license unless “The United States Congress excludes industrial hemp from the definition of "marihuana" for the purpose of the Controlled Substances Act, 21 United States Code, Section 802(16); or…the United States Department of Justice, Drug Enforcement Administration takes affirmative steps towards issuing a permit under 21 United States Code, Chapter 13, Subchapter 1, Part C to a person holding a license issued by a state to grow industrial hemp.”

17-A M.R.S. § 1101-1117

  • Under criminal code, it is an affirmative defense to drug trafficking, furnishing, cultivation or possession charges if the substance so used is industrial hemp.
  • "Industrial hemp means any variety of Cannabis sativa L. with a delta-9- tetrahydrocannabinol concentration that does not exceed 0.3% on a dry weight basis and that is grown under a federal permit in compliance with the conditions of that permit."


Mont. Code Anno., § 80-18-101 to 80-18-111

  • States that industrial hemp that does not contain more than 0.3% tetrahydrocannabinol is an agricultural product.
  • "…an individual in this state may plant, grow, harvest, possess, process, sell, or buy industrial hemp if the industrial hemp does not contain more than 0.3% tetrahydrocannabinol."
  • Requires industrial hemp growers be licensed by the state.
  • Creates an affirmative defense to prosecution under criminal code for marijuana possession or cultivation.


NE L 101

  • “To permit growth and cultivation of industrial hemp by a postsecondary institution or the Department of Agriculture as prescribed
  •  To exempt industrial hemp from the Uniform Controlled Substances Act as prescribed
  •  To provide powers and duties for the Department of Agriculture
  •  And to repeal the original section.

New Hampshire
2014 HB 153

  • This bill establishes a committee to study the growth and sale of industrial hemp in New Hampshire.
  • The study must report their findings by Nov. 1, 2014.

North Dakota
N.D. Cent. Code, § 4-41-01 to 4-41-03 (2009)

  • States that industrial hemp that does not contain more than 0.3 percent is considered an oilseed.
  • "…any person in this state may plant, grow, harvest, possess, process, sell, and buy industrial hemp (cannabis sativa l.) having no more than .03 percent tetrahydrocannabinol."
  • Requires industrial hemp growers be licensed by the state.
  • "North Dakota State University and any other person licensed under this chapter may import and resell industrial hemp seed that has been certified as having no more than .03 percent tetrahydrocannabinol."

O.R.S. § 475.005

  • Excludes industrial hemp from definition of “controlled substance.”

O.R.S. § 571.300 to .315

  • Requires industrial hemp growers be licensed by the state.
  • Authorizes “industrial hemp production and possession, and commerce in industrial hemp commodities and products.”

South Carolina
S. 839

  • “Adds chapter 55 concerning industrial hemp; provides that it is lawful to grow industrial hemp in this state;
  • clarifies that industrial hemp is excluded from the definition of marijuana;
  •  prohibits growing industrial hemp and marijuana on the same property or otherwise growing marijuana in close proximity to industrial hemp to disguise the marijuana growth.”

TN AG Code 916

  • “Authorizes growing of industrial hemp subject to regulation by the Department of Agriculture;
  • provides for license fees;
  • provides that industrial hemp is not marijuana but can be categorized as a controlled substance under specified circumstances;
  • provides that the department has the right to inspect the hemp crop for compliance.”

UT H 105

  • Permits the Department of Agriculture and a certified higher education institution to grow industrial hemp for education.
  • Exempts an individual with intractable epilepsy who uses or possesses hemp extract or an individual who administers hemp extract to a minor with intractable epilepsy.
  • Provides for a hemp extract registration card; requires maintenance of neurologist medical records and a database of neurologist evaluations.

6 V.S.A. § 561 to 566

  • "Industrial hemp means varieties of the plant cannabis sativa having no more than 0.3 percent tetrahydrocannabinol, whether growing or not, that are cultivated or possessed by a licensed grower in compliance with this chapter."
  • "Industrial hemp is an agricultural product which may be grown, produced, possessed, and commercially traded in Vermont …"
  • Requires industrial hemp growers to be licensed by the state.

West Virginia
W. Va. Code § 19-12E-1 to 19-12E-9

  • "Industrial hemp that has not more than 1 percent tetrahydrocannabinol is considered an agricultural crop in this state if grown for…purposes authorized…"
  • Requires industrial hemp growers be licensed by the state.
  • Creates a complete defense to prosecution under criminal code for marijuana possession or cultivation.
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