Hemp Licensing: Legislative Update

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Hemp Program

Legislative Update Regarding Hemp Licensing

The 2022 session of the Maine Legislature is underway and there is a new bill (LD 1942) pertaining to Maine's hemp licensing authority. The bill would increase the Maine THC threshold to 1% Total THC, allowing Maine growers to produce hemp that exceeds the federal THC standard. It also could allow Maine growers to license directly with the USDA-AMS Hemp Program to produce federally complaint hemp. While the higher THC standard may be a welcome change, it also means that DACF's licensing program would be operating outside of USDA's Domestic Hemp Program and growers’ access to federal farm programs, insurance, and banking could be greatly restricted. In addition, Maine-grown hemp with 1% total THC would be barred in many other states, constricting access to processors and markets.

We encourage Maine hemp farmers to read our Resolve Report for LD 33 for the Committee on Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry of the Maine Legislature and view the briefing with the Committee on January 18 (jump to the 1:14 time mark). We present what we found during our stakeholder information gathering process this past year and we explain what other states are doing for hemp licensing in 2022. 

DACF submitted a plan to USDA in late December, before their January 1, 2022 deadline. Our plan was approved. However, DACF cannot carry out this plan unless certain law changes are made (see the bulletin on LD 33). Everyone interested in producing hemp should read the information available on USDA's Hemp Program website. We also urge hemp producers to follow the progress of LD 1942 in the state legislature and consider providing testimony at the hearing, which is scheduled for Tuesday, February 15. Send us an email if you are interested in testifying and want more information about the process.

We hope everyone is staying well this winter.

Mary Yurlina
Hemp Program Manager