Hemp Processor-Handler License Renewal

Industrial Hemp Updates

Hemp Processor-Handler License Renewal

October 8, 2021

The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) is mailing renewal applications to currently licensed hemp processor-handlers this week.

As a reminder, current hemp processor-handler licenses expire at midnight on November 30, 2021. The new license cycle runs December 1, 2021, to November 30, 2022.

Applicants must be 18 or older and do not need to submit a background check, unlike prior years.  Applications will display pre-printed business information, contacts, and locations from 2021 and must be updated with any new information. 

The non-refundable application fee is $1,350.  Renewing applicants must have complete applications postmarked by November 30 to avoid a $250 late fee.

This license allows entities with physical locations in Michigan to process, handle, and broker hemp products.  The license applies to consumable AND non-consumable hemp and hemp products.  Licensed processors may buy raw industrial hemp from growers, in addition to buying unfinished hemp products such as cannabinoid extract.  Licensed processors can also request name, phone, and email contact information from MDARD for any hemp growers who indicated on their grower application they allow the release of that information.

As a reminder, firms licensed only as hemp processor-handlers cannot possess cannabis with greater than 0.3% delta-9-THC content on a dry weight basis.  Processors also cannot have live plants unless also registered as a hemp grower.

Please note legislation is regularly being proposed at both the state and federal levels which could impact hemp in food, feed, and other arenas.  MDARD will be monitoring the proposed legislation and evaluating the processor law, Public Act 547 of 2014, the Industrial Hemp Research and Development Act, as amended (hereafter PA 547), along with industry and public needs.  MDARD encourages you to sign up for email alerts about hemp by visiting www.Michigan.gov/IndustrialHemp and clicking on the red envelope at the bottom left on the page.  You will also find announcements, laws, resources, and more information on this website.

Questions about the processor-handler license application can be directed to 517-284-5771.  Questions about the hemp program can be directed to MDARD-IndustrialHemp@michigan.gov or 248-521-0501. 

Hemp Processor-Handler Q&A

I am a registered hemp grower.  Do I need a processor license to dry hemp?  No. “Drying” now falls under the definition of “grow” and therefore registered growers do not need an additional license for this activity.

PA 547 requires hemp processors to get licensed.  What is “processing”?  Public Act 547 of 2014, as amended, defines processing as converting raw industrial hemp into a marketable form.  That form could be the final product that a consumer would buy, or it could be an intermediary or unfished product that requires further processing.

Do 2nd or 3rd tier processors require this license?  The license is required for each business involved in processing.  For example, if business A is involved in extracting cannabinoids, business B packages CBD products, and business C labels the product, each business would need a hemp processor-handler license.

PA 547 requires hemp handlers to get licensed.  What is “handling”?   To “handle” hemp is to possess, store, or transport hemp on premises owned, operated, or controlled by a licensed processor.

PA 547 requires hemp brokers to be licensed.  What is “brokering”?  Brokering is engaging in or participating in the marketing of industrial hemp by acting as an intermediary or negotiator between prospective buyers and sellers.

Is a license required for manufacturing non-consumable hemp products?  Yes.

Is this license required for processor, handler, and broker facilities that are out of state?  No.

What does PA 547 allow for marijuana processors? Processors licensed under the Medical Marijuana Facilities and Licensing Act through Michigan’s Marijuana Regulatory Agency can purchase raw industrial hemp from growers; can request registered grower contact information from MDARD if the grower has approved release; and, can purchase intermediary, in-process, or finished hemp product or smokable flower.  At this time, adult-use processors would need to obtain a hemp processor-handler license to perform these activities.

Does Michigan register hemp products?  No.  Michigan licenses the manufacturers (processors) of hemp and hemp products and does not register individual products.

Is a license required for marketing/retailing hemp and hemp products?  “Marketing” means to promote or sell industrial hemp, a hemp commodity, or product, and includes efforts to advertise and gather information about the needs or preferences of potential consumers or suppliers.  PA 547 currently requires both in-state and out-of-state hemp retailers to obtain this license. 

Are hemp-processor licenses issued for consumable products? Yes.  Products such as hulled hemp seed, hemp protein powder, and hemp seed oil are considered Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) by FDA and are legal to manufacture and sell in Michigan.  CBD tinctures and similar cannabinoid products in food have not been approved by FDA.  See this bulletin for details.  MDARD encourages you to check our hemp and food websites regularly for announcements about legislative changes.