What is the future of hemp in Maine? We need to hear from you.

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Hemp Program

What is the future of hemp in Maine? We need to hear from you.

LD 33 (An Act To Improve the Laws Governing Hemp by Bringing Them into Compliance with Federal Law) did not pass as written. Instead, it became a Resolve directing the Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry (DACF) to seek additional input from stakeholders on the future of the state’s hemp program. LD 33 was intended to change current Maine law so that Maine’s hemp licensing program could reconfigure itself as a USDA-approved program by January 1, 2022.

The USDA Final Hemp Rule has not been without controversy. One objectionable provision is a “felony ban” that prohibits those with a felony drug conviction in the past 10 years from becoming a licensed hemp grower. Maine law, which has no such prohibition, needed to be amended to add the ban. Some legislators in The Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry (ACF) Committee of the Maine Legislature did not support this requirement. The Committee also considered the possibility that Maine maintains a state program with its own THC threshold allowing cannabis with up to 1% total THC to be considered hemp. However, without a USDA-approved program, Maine hemp growers will not have access to out-of-state markets. The USDA Agricultural Marketing Service, National Hemp Program has made it clear there will be no parallel licensing programs in a state. If the state is licensing growers, they will not offer USDA licensing. The Maine Hemp Program understands this uncertainty disrupts the local hemp markets and makes it much harder to consider hemp as a viable crop. Therefore, we need your input to help guide the program into the future.

DACF will conduct stakeholder information gathering meetings (SIGMEs) in the next several months to fulfill the Resolve. These will include in-person gatherings at venues around the state as well as virtual meetings. We will also deploy a survey. Using the input gathered from hemp stakeholders, we will develop recommendations to the ACF Committee and inform future rulemaking. Our State legislative deadline is this December. Please stay tuned for invitations to participate in SIGMEs and polls. We realize the market for CBD hemp has not been good, but this crop is here to stay, and it’s likely that New England will have more opportunities for using hemp raw materials in the future. The path to good policy that will improve the markets and make hemp a viable crop is through clear and consistent communication. If you are passionate about hemp or just thinking it might fit into your farm’s future, we need to hear from you!

 

Growing hemp this year? Got a license?

If you are growing more than 3 hemp plants or planning to sell the hemp or products made from it, you need a FINAL Hemp License Agreement in hand before you plant. Mailing an application or receiving a draft hemp license agreement to sign is not enough. If a person is growing more than three hemp plants that are over 12” tall, that person also needs a FINAL Hemp License Agreement. The DACF Hemp webpage has all the info you need to complete the application process.

 

Planting reports are due.

Within 14 days after planting hemp, growers need to submit a planting report. This report confirms exactly where you planted within the area(s) licensed and documents that the hemp varieties planted came from stock that contained no more than 0.3% delta-9-THC by dry weight.


Hoping for rain,
Mary 
Hemp Program Manager
mary.yurlina@maine.gov