Hemp is a multi-purpose agricultural crop delivering seeds, fibers and bio-active chemicals for a number of uses and markets. Industrial hemp is defined in federal and Montana statute as Cannabis sativa L. that contains no more than 0.3% delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Industrial hemp is authorized as an alternative agricultural crop by the Montana Legislature, Section 80-18-101 through 80-18-111 of Montana Code Annotated.
This law provides a framework for commercial industrial hemp production in Montana following approval by the federal government. Provisions added to the 2014 Farm Bill (Section 7606) defined industrial hemp under federal law and recognized state agricultural departments' authority to develop research pilot programs to study the growth, cultivation, and/or marketing of industrial hemp.
Montana Industrial Hemp Pilot Program
Industrial hemp may be grown in Montana only by the Montana Department of Agriculture (MDA) through the Industrial Hemp Pilot Program or by institutions of higher education in Montana for agricultural or academic research. Only seed purchased from the Pilot Program seed repository or ordered from a DEA-approved source can legally be planted in Montana. Industrial hemp is currently regulated as a Schedule I Controlled Substance by the federal government. Persons who violate state or federal laws regarding hemp may be subject to federal prosecution under the Controlled Substances Act (CSA). Refer to the DEA website for more information.
Applicants must agree to comply with Section 80-18-101 through 80-18-111 of MCA and ARM 4.19.101-106, adopted on March 10, 2017. An industrial hemp license is required prior to planting hemp seeds in Montana.
The 2018 application period for the Montana Industrial Hemp Pilot Program is now open. Completed applications are due by January 31st, 2018.
The Pilot Program Application Form (.pdf format), fees, and fingerprints must be received by the Department by January 31, 2018 to be considered.
To apply for a Montana Hemp License, complete all required sections of the application and submit payment via mail to:
Montana Department of Agriculture
Industrial Hemp Program
PO Box 200201
Helena, MT 59620-0201
The applicant, including all corporate officers, must be fingerprinted at a law enforcement agency. The law enforcement agency, not the applicant, must send the fingerprint sheet to the Department (80-18-103, MCA). Most local law enforcement offices provide fingerprinting services. The completed application and copy of the law enforcement submitted fingerprints will be submitted for DEA review and approval. The DEA may place additional requirements on the Department or the applicant for participation or continuation of the program. At the end of the licensure, program participants must submit an agricultural/agronomic report regarding their experience with their hemp crop. The report shall include the approximate yield in pounds per acre and the method used to devitalize the seed. All seed must be devitalized after harvest and no seed production for future planting is allowed under the Montana Industrial Hemp Pilot Program.
Montana Industrial Hemp Pilot Program Fees
Montana Hemp License - $50
An industrial hemp license issued by the state provides authorization for the production of industrial hemp at a particular growing area by a particular individual or entity. Licenses will expire on the last day of December of the year that they are issued. Renewals do not require new fingerprinting unless the department requests it or if the corporate officers have changed.
Hemp Pilot Program Participation - $400
Participants must pay the $400 fee to receive industrial hemp seed through the DEA approved pilot program. Applicants must secure seed orders from DEA approved international seed suppliers. The department will work with the seed suppliers to secure import and export permits to have the seed delivered to the department. Seed costs and shipping are not included in the fee.
Approved Types of Products in the Montana Hemp Pilot Program
All other applicable federal and state regulations apply to the production of hemp products for human consumption and other uses (e.g. FDA, DPHHS). This list is not all inclusive and just includes examples of potential products from the pilot program. Pilot participants are allowed to harvest and process any hemp seed, oils, fiber, and hurd that they produce. They may process these items themselves or sell them for processing or use. All hemp produced must be processed before leaving Montana. Commercial production outside the Montana Hemp Pilot Program is not currently allowed under state or federal law.
- Flour and other processed grain/seed food products
- Cosmetics (including soap, shampoo, lip balm, lotion, etc.)
- Alcoholic beverages (including beer and distilled and infused spirits)
- Industrial oil applications (including lubricants, resins, coatings, packaging, and paints)
- Cannabinoid oils (including CBD for food, cosmetic, and health products)
- Animal bedding
- Building materials (including insulation, plaster, fiberboard, and structural composites)
- Textile products (including clothing, canvas, rope/twine, carpeting, paper, etc.)
- Bio-composite materials
Non-Approved Types of Products in the Montana Hemp Pilot Program
- Commercial animal feeds (including pet foods, specialty pet foods, treats and snacks)
The Montana Department of Agriculture is not responsible for a pilot participant’s business plan or activities and will not be a mediator between pilot participants and any business associates or partners. We encourage interested individuals to contact a hemp trade association to learn more about marketing opportunities, such as the Hemp Industries Association or the National Hemp Association.