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Montana State Hemp Program

A hemp license issued by the state provides authorization for the production of hemp at a particular growing area by a particular individual or entity.

Applicants must agree to comply with Section 80-18-101 through 80-18-111 of MCA and ARM 4.19.101-202. A hemp license is required to grow hemp in Montana.    


Notice: Montana's HEMP Plan IMPLEMENTATION 

Montana will not be implementing its USDA Approved Hemp Plan beginning November 1, 2020 as originally planned due to the recent pilot program extension made by congress.  Rather, the Montana State Hemp Program will continue operating under authorities provided for in the 2014 pilot program until September of 2021, or until Congressional allowance lapses.  

The details of the state's current plan can be found under Related Links.  Licensed hemp growers are encouraged to review this plan to be aware of and understand the requirements and procedures related to licensure, sampling and testing for Total THC, reporting and enforcement.

NOTICE: Montana Hemp Grower List

Montana statute (Section 2-6-1017, MCA) does not allow for the distribution of licensees’ addresses, emails and phone numbers.  This statute also precludes FOIA requests.  The information that is allowed for distribution of the 2020 Montana Hemp Licenses can be found under Related Links of this webpage.

NOTICE: Licensing APPLICATION PERIOD EXPIRED JUNE 1, 2020

Montana State Hemp License and Fees

Hemp growers in the Fort Belknap Indian Community (FBIC), Blackfeet Nation, and the Chippewa Cree of the Rocky Boy's Reservation do not need to apply for a MT State Hemp License. Instead, these growers will license through the Fort Belknap Agriculture Office or Blackfeet Homeland Security Office. The FBIC’s plan was approved by the USDA on January 27, 2020. The Blackfeet Nation Tribal Council's plan was approved on April 16, 2020. For more information on applying for a license to grow hemp within the boundaries of any tribal reservation, please contact the corresponding tribe for permission and/or to determine whether to apply with the state or the tribe.

The hemp planting license application period for the 2020 growing season expired effective Monday, June 1, 2020. The 2020 Indoor/Outdoor License is valid from the time of issuance until April 30, 2021. Late applications will not be accepted. 

The second step in the hemp licensing process, after receiving the initial stage Hemp Planting license and actually planting the crop, is to submit the required stage two Planting Report.  See instructions below on this webpage. Any applicant that does not meet the conditions of the Production License will forfeit their Planting License and the crop(s) will require destruction.

The department issues hemp licenses in (2) two progressive stages.  Upon approval of the initial application, eligible applicants will be issued a Planting license so they may purchase seed or live plants and plant or propagate hemp. To receive full licensure, the applicant must submit a Planting Report confirming information about the crop(s) that was planted. Successful candidates will be issued the second stage Production license. The Production license allows for the production and harvest of compliant hemp. 

Initial License Application Stage

The initial license application stage requires, entity information, key participant information, verification of seed/live plant source, and crop information. Additional requirements include payment in full of the $850 nonrefundable application fee, a signature acknowledging the Attestation Statement as well as the Risk Acknowledgment Statement, and a background check for new applicants.

Applicant Information:

The application must be completed in its entirety. If the applicant is a business, the Business License Number on file with the Montana Secretary of State’s (SOS) office must be provided as well as an EIN number. A Business Name is only required if you are licensing a registered business.

Key Participants: 

List the Key Participant’s full name, titles, phone numbers and emails for each person involved in the management of hemp for your operation. Key Participants are defined as “officers of the company and/or the person(s) responsible for management decisions regarding the crop” (i.e. planting date, seeding rate, pesticide or fertilizer applications, timing of harvest, etc.). 

Background Checks:

Effective March 24, 2020:

 Due to restricted access to obtain fingerprint documentation caused by the COVID-19 emergency, the Montana Department of Agriculture waives the requirement for FBI Identity History Summary documentation for all 2020 hemp license applicants and Key participants. This does not exempt applicants from the federal requirement of having no prior convictions of felony drug charges in the last 10 years.

Seed/Live Plant Source and Verification:

The department has developed four risk-based categories of hemp varieties. The variety you choose will determine the level of review your application receives and the level of testing of your crop.  All varieties that meet the definitions of Category A, B or C are allowed. Visit the Hemp Varieties section of this page for more information on hemp categories and the complete list of Category A and B varieties.

Each variety of hemp will be reviewed by the department prior to issuance of the hemp license.  The application must include for each variety the name and license number of the seed provider or nursery, and an indication of your purchase: Seed or Live Plants.  A copy of the seed label (provided to you by the seed provider) is required for each Category A and B variety.  For Category C varieties, a copy of the seed label or the Certificate of Analysis (COA) is required.

The person providing seed and/or live plants to the grower must be licensed to distribute into the state. Seed providers must be licensed in Montana; nurseries must be licensed in their resident state. Growers who purchase live plants must submit a copy of the provider’s resident state nursery license and hemp license and verification of variety (nursery label, seed label or COA).  Growers need to be aware and inform live plant providers that importation of live plants into Montana must meet plant sanitary requirements, including proof that plants are free from Japanese Beetle infestation. For more information on these requirements, please visit our website at https://agr.mt.gov/Topics/Seed or https://agr.mt.gov/Nursery-Program.

Crop Information:

As applicable to your operation, indicate the desired primary market, number of varieties for each grow type (Outdoor/Greenhouse/Indoor) and the associated quantity (acres/sq. ft./plants).

Attestation Statement/Risk Acknowledgement:

The applicant’s signature on the Attestation Statement verifies all application information is true and correct, that the applicant will comply with state and federal regulations and accepts all conditions of the Risk Acknowledgement Statement.

Fees:

A check or money order for $850 must be enclosed along with the application. Checks can be made to the Montana Department of Agriculture. Please include license number in the check memo if previously licensed. Applicants who plant any Category C Varieties will have additional fees due along with the Planting Report in the second stage of the hemp license process. 

Application must be mailed to:   

Montana Department of Agriculture- Hemp Program

PO Box 200201

Helena, MT 59620-0201

Note: Applications will not be processed until all required information is received.   


Second License Application Stage PROCESS

Licensees who have received the initial Planting License and have planted hemp must submit the Hemp Planting Report. CLICK HERE to download the form, online submission is not available.  Please see instructions below for due dates and specific information required to receive the Production License.  Mail or email to the address listed on the report.

To receive full licensure, the applicant must submit a Planting Report confirming finalized information about the planted crop(s). Successful candidates will be issued the Production license. The Production license allows for production and harvest of compliant hemp. Production license certificates will be issued to eligible applicants so they can provide verification of location and variety while growing, transporting and for sale purposes.

Mandatory information reporting requirements will include:

  1. Variety - List each variety separately by Lot
  2. Latitude/Longitude (the point should be near the center of the Lot, field, or structure)
    1. An overview map must be included that shows all locations relative to each other and the nearest municipality.
    2. A separate map must be included showing the boundaries of the Lot(s), and identifying the Lot number, variety and the grow area size for each Lot.
      1. For multiple Lots contained in a greenhouse or indoor structure, the map need only identify the location of the structure.
    3. Maps using the satellite view on Google Maps works well. FSA farm maps are also accepted.
  3. Quantity of Growing Area - List the quantity for Outdoor as Acres, Greenhouse as Sq. Ft. and Indoor as Plants.
  4. Estimated Harvest Date - Specify the estimated date or week of harvest.  The department must sample within a 3-week period prior to harvest.  This information is critical to scheduling resources and for assuring the crop is sampled per protocol.  Compliant sample results are required for the sale of Category C varieties.
  5. Landowner Name/Signature - Signatures are required of each legal landowner (or an authorized agent) for each property used to grow hemp.  Rented or leased property must have the actual land owner signature.  If the licensee owns the land, their signature is required.    

Hemp Planting Report due dates:

  • Outdoor crops - within 4 weeks after seeding or planting, but no later than July 15.
  • Greenhouse and Indoor crops - within 4 weeks after seeding, planting, propagation, or receipt of live plants.

Greenhouse and Indoor Grow Submission Requirements:

If a grower has multiple crops per year, a Planting Report is due for each crop. A crop is defined as “a group of plants in a similar stage of growth” (example: plants flowering on March 1 would be a different crop than plants flowering on June 1). Plants not intended to be harvested must also be reported, including mother plants or any clones/live plants intended to be sold. Click here to see Montana’s Requirements for the Sale of Live Plants policy.

Fees:

If one or more Category C varieties are planted, a $250 planting fee is required with the Planting Report submission.  This initial $250 fee covers the cost for the first Category C sampled.  For each additional Category C sample collected and tested, you will be invoiced an additional $250.

Any applicant that does not meet the conditions of the Production License will forfeit their Planting license and the crop will require destruction. Harvesting hemp without a state issued Production license is a violation of state and federal law.

 


Requirements for the Sale of Live Hemp Plants

The Department’s policy on the sale of live hemp plants requires both buyer and seller to be current hemp license holders, in addition to other requirements. The full policy can be found here:


 There are many components to the emerging hemp industry and differentiation between programs within the Department of Agriculture.   Depending on the subject matter of your interest, please contact the appropriate person(s) listed below:

 

Topic

Contact

Phone

Email

Hemp Program (general)

Andy Gray

(406) 444-0512

Angray@mt.gov

Hemp Grower Licensing

Mikayla Moore

(406) 444-5430

Mikayla.Moore@mt.gov

Hemp Processor Licensing

Andy Fjeseth

(406) 444-3571

AFjeseth@mt.gov

Marketing 

Weston Merrill

(406) 558-9880

Weston.Merrill@mt.gov

Seed (distribution) Licensing

Bob Ballensky

(406) 444-3950

BBallensky@mt.gov

Commodity Dealer Licensing

Bob Ballensky

(406) 444-3950

BBallensky@mt.gov


Hemp Varieties

The department has developed four risk-based categories for hemp seed varieties. The variety you choose will determine the level of review your application receives and the testing frequency of your crop.

The department has chosen to not make any updates to the 2019 Hemp Seed/Clone Variety List based on a single year of test data. The 2020 Hemp Seed/Clone Variety List will remain the same as 2019.

 Click here for the full 2020 Hemp Seed/Clone Variety List

The categories include:

Category

Hemp Seed Variety Class

Approval

A

Varieties previously grown in Montana

Approved for planting

B

Seed Certified to ASOCA or OECD standards*

Approved upon review

C

Seed not certified

Approved upon review

D

Seed not meeting definition of hemp (THC>0.3%)

Prohibited

* Hemp seed included on the Certified Seed lists of Canada, European Union, Colorado and other states with varieties certified per AOSCA or OECD standards.

The Department recognizes seed certifications by the Association of Official Seed Certifying Agencies (AOSCA) and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) standards for Category B.  The Department may recognize other standards that certify hemp seed varieties as being true to varietal traits and no greater than 0.3% THC on a dry weight basis. Category C varieties must meet the definition of hemp throughout the growing season. 100% of Category C varieties are subject to testing. Compliant testing results are required for sale of any Category C hemp.

For more information on AOSCA and the process of submitting seed for official certification, visit https://www.aosca.org/.

Any company selling agricultural seed including hemp seed in Montana must have the required license under the Section 80-5-101 through Section 80-5-144 MCA.

Montana Licensed Hemp Seed Providers

Click here to see the current list of hemp seed providers licensed to distribute into Montana.  This list is subject to change and will be updated periodically.  The department is providing this list as a service to Montana hemp license applicants.  It is not an endorsement, recommendation or guarantee of the company’s seed in regard to germination, purity or THC levels.

 


 

NOTICE: Indoor Inspections

The department continues to sample indoor crops in Montana, a requirement of the 2018 Farm Bill to monitor THC levels. Crops must be sampled 2-3 weeks before harvest. Producers growing indoors this winter that have not arranged for sampling are advised to contact our Hemp Program Technician Mikayla Moore at (406) 444-5430 or by email at Mikayla.moore@mt.gov.


Department Hemp Sampling Protocol

The Department has proposed its guidance document for sampling and testing of hemp. This document outlines the internal procedures the Department will use to guide our sampling and testing protocol. These procedures are in draft form and are subject to change at the discretion of the Department. Licensed hemp growers are encouraged to review this document in preparation of having their crop sampled and for guidelines on self-testing. Click here to view a copy of the sampling procedures that will be implemented during the 2020 growing season.

The department utilizes the MSU Analytical Lab in Bozeman, MT and calculates Total Delta9-THC on a dry weight basis (%Total delta9-THC = % Delta9-THC + (%Delta9-THCA x 0.8772)). The 2018 Farm Bill requires testing methodology that utilizes post decarboxylation, which includes THCA.


Approved Types of Products in the Montana Hemp Program

The Montana Department of Agriculture does not regulate the production or sale of food, drugs, health supplements, or cosmetics.  FDA did not object to Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) petitions for hulled hemp seed (GRN765), hemp seed protein powder (GRN771), and hemp seed oil (GRN778). A recent FDA statement from December 20, 2018 on Cannabis products can be found here: https://www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/Newsroom/PressAnnouncements/ucm628988.htm

The Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services has published a guidance document on “Industrial Hemp and Cannabidiol Policy for Foods”.


Non-Approved Types of Products in the Montana State Hemp Program

  • Commercial animal feeds (including pet foods, specialty pet foods, treats and snacks)

The Montana Department of Agriculture is not responsible for a participant’s business plan or activities and will not be a mediator between 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.

Frequently Asked Questions


Q: What is hemp?

A: Hemp is a multi-purpose agricultural crop delivering seeds, fibers and bio-active chemicals for a number of uses and markets. Hemp is defined in federal and Montana statute as Cannabis sativa L. that contains no greater than 0.3% delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Hemp is authorized as an alternative agricultural crop by the Montana Legislature, Section 80-18-101 through 80-18-111 of Montana Code Annotated.

Q: What is the difference between hemp and marijuana?

A: Hemp and marijuana are varieties of the same plant, Cannabis sativa L., that have developed due to selective breeding. The plant family Cannabaceae, that contains both hemp and marijuana, also includes the hops plant which is used in the brewing process. By both federal and state law, hemp must contain no greater than 0.3% THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) on a dry weight basis.

Hemp Marijuana
Bred for its fiber and seed oil Bred for its psychoactive properties (THC)

Q: What is THC?

A: THC is short for tetrahydrocannabinol and is the component of marijuana that has psychoactive properties.

Q: Do hemp and marijuana plants look different?

A: No, hemp and marijuana are the same species of plant. The growth form of the plant is largely determined by growing conditions. Hemp and marijuana look very similar under similar growing conditions and can both be grown indoors or outdoors.

Q: Can hemp get you “high?”

A: No, hemp has very low levels of THC, the psychoactive compound found in marijuana. Hemp is required by law to have no greater than 0.3% THC. Current marijuana Cannabis varieties are between 10-30% THC.

Q: Can hemp be certified as organic?

A: Yes, guidelines issued by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) on August 23, 2016, authorize hemp to be certified as organic. Hemp must follow the same requirements (Click here for more on Organic Certification in Montana) as other crops certified in accordance with the USDA National Organic Program (NOP). More information on organic certification for hemp is available from USDA AMS by clicking here.

Q: Is federal funding available for University researchers to study hemp?

A: Yes, new guidelines issued from the federal government, through USDA’s National Institute of Feed and Agriculture (NIFA), clarify how universities and colleges may be able to apply for federal funding to study hemp agriculture. More information on this topic can be found by visiting: https://nifa.usda.gov/industrial-hemp.


Licensing:

Q: Do I still need a license now that the president has signed the new Farm Bill to legalize hemp?

A: Yes. The 2018 Farm Bill hemp provisions transferred regulatory authority from the federal Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). The USDA guidelines still require licensing of hemp growers and hemp growing locations by USDA, Tribal Sovereign Nation, State Department of Agriculture or University. In Montana, the State Department of Agriculture issues licenses for growing hemp under the authority in 80-18-101 through 80-18-111, MCA.

Q: Do I need to be a Montana resident to apply for a hemp license?

A: No, applicants are not required to be residents of Montana.

Q: If I was licensed last year, do I need to get a background check done for 2020?

A: Only new applicants are subject to a background check. Licensees who were previously licensed are not required to submit a Background Check in 2020. Hemp program participation requires no felony drug charges in the previous ten years.


Growing  Hemp:

Q: Can I plant hemp clones?

A: Yes, the approval process for clones of hemp plants is the same as for seed of new hemp varieties. Additionally, approval of clones may be subject to standards like those of other National Clean Plant Network (NCPN) crops propagated from plant cutting, grafting, or division.

Q: Can I grow hemp on land that I lease?

A: Yes, but the landowner’s signature is required on the Planting Report in the second stage of licensing.

Q: Are there any limits on the number of growers that can participate or acres that can be grown?

A: No minimum or maximum field sizes are being considered at this time. Before determining the size of your hemp crop, you may consider researching hemp processors and markets to avoid growing more hemp than can be sold. A list of licensed processors in Montana can be found at https://agr.mt.gov/HempProcessors.


CBD:

Q: Can I sell CBD oil in Montana?

A: The Montana Department of Agriculture does not regulate the production or sale of food, drugs, health supplements, or cosmetics. A recent FDA Statement, from December 20, 2018, on Cannabis products can be found here: https://www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/Newsroom/PressAnnouncements/ucm628988.htm.

Q: Why do I see CBD oil for sale in Montana retail stores?

A: The Montana Department of Agriculture does not regulate the production or sale of food, drugs, health supplements, or cosmetics. The FDA states, “When a product is in violation of the FD&C Act, FDA considers many factors in deciding whether or not to initiate an enforcement action. Those factors include, among other things, agency resources and the threat to the public health. FDA also may consult with its federal and state partners in making decisions about whether to initiate a federal enforcement action.” A recent FDA statement, from December 20, 2018, on Cannabis products can be found here: https://www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/Newsroom/PressAnnouncements/ucm628988.htm.


Hemp Seed:

Q: Where can I purchase hemp seed?

A: There are several international and US-based seed companies that sell certified hemp seed. Montana Department of Agriculture does not have a list of all current hemp seed companies in the world. Growers are encouraged to do extensive research and required to purchase only from licensed seed dealers.

Q: Do I need a different license to sell hemp seed in Montana?

A: Yes, all entities that sell agricultural seed in Montana are required to follow the requirements of the Montana Seed Act. At a minimum, hemp seed sellers must have a Montana Seed Labeler license. More information about the seed program and licensing requirements are available on the Montana Department of Agriculture's Seed Program web page at: https://agr.mt.gov/Topics/Seed.

Q: Can I plant seeds from another US state?

A: Yes, licensees can plant any seed reasonably believed to produce hemp. Seed varieties not previously grown in Montana or ASOCA/OECD certified are considered category C varieties and are grown at the licensee’s own risk. All category C varieties are required to be tested for Total THC three weeks prior to harvest.


Feed:

Q: Can I feed hemp to my animals? / Can I make hemp pet treats and sell them at the farmers market?

A: No, hemp is not an approved commercial feed ingredient under the Association of American Feed Control Officials’ (AAFCO) regulations. Hemp cannot be manufactured into any commercial animal feed including pet foods and specialty pet foods, including complete feed, treats, and snacks. Unprocessed hemp seed and other plant parts may be fed to animals as forage. Contact the Montana Department of Agriculture Feed Program with questions about feeding hemp products to animals: https://agr.mt.gov/Topics/Feed.

Q: Can I make hemp food products and sell them for human consumption in Montana?

A: The Montana Department of Agriculture does not regulate the production or sale of food, drugs, health supplements, or cosmetics. Hulled hemp seeds, hemp seed protein, and hemp seed oil have been granted Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) status by the FDA and are widely available in products at retail stores across Montana. A recent FDA statement, from December 20, 2018, on Cannabis products can be found here: https://www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/Newsroom/PressAnnouncements/ucm628988.htm.

 


Montana Hemp Advisory Committee

◆ Rob Klingaman    Harlem, MT   (406) 390-2491
◆ Kim Philips   Helena, Mt   (406) 221-6075
◆ Jackee Beck   Deer Lodge, MT   (406) 560-5422
◆ Bart Icopini   Hysham, MT   (406) 690-8567
◆ Jamie Fitterrer   Bozeman, MT    (406) 599-0731
◆ Arlin Frantzke   Stevensville, MT   (406) 777-1577
◆ Ken Elliott   Fort Benton, MT    (406) 289-0019
◆ Perry Miller   Bozeman, MT    (406) 994-5431
◆ Ben Thomas   Helena, MT   (406) 444-3144

Hemp News

ARM Public Hearing Notice: Montana Hemp Research and Market Development Program (4-20-269)

Conference Call - Thursday, August 13, 2020, 1:00pm

A public hearing will be held on August 13, 2020 at 1:00 p.m. The Montana Department of Agriculture has proposed administrative rules pertaining to the Montana Hemp Research and Market Development Program. The proposal notice, published on pages 1319-1321 in Issue No. 14 of the 2020 Montana Administrative Register (MAR Notice No. 4-20-269) can be viewed on the Secretary of State’s website at https://sosmt.gov/arm/register/.

The hearing will be held in in Room 225 of the Scott Hart Building (302 N. Roberts, Helena, MT 59601), as well as virtually through the meeting platform Zoom. Concerned persons may submit their data, views, or arguments either orally or in writing at the hearing or send them to the department by 5:00 p.m., August 21, 2020.

For Zoom meeting details please contact Virginia Corbett via email at agr@mt.gov or phone, 444-3156.

Public Meeting Notice: Conference Call - Montana Hemp Committee Meeting

Tues. July 7, 10:30 am

 

The Montana Hemp Advisory Committee will meet via Zoom/Teleconference on Tuesday, July  7, 2020 at 10:30am. Contact Virginia Corbett for call information: Virginia.Corbett@mt.gov or (406)444-3156. 

For more information about the Hemp Committee, click here.

Documents to download

Public Meeting Notice: Conference Call - Montana Hemp Committee Meeting

Thurs Oct 8, 1-2pm

 

The Montana Hemp Advisory Committee will meet via Zoom/Teleconference on Thursday, October 8 at 1pm. Contact Virginia Corbett for call information: Virginia.Corbett@mt.gov or (406)444-3156. 

For more information about the Hemp Committee, click here.

Documents to download

Andy Gray
Hemp Program Coordinator

Phone : (406) 444-0512
E-mail : AnGray@mt.gov
Fax : (406) 444-9493


Mikayla Moore
Hemp Program Technician
Phone
: (406) 444-5430
E-mail :
Mikayla.Moore@mt.gov
Fax : (406) 444-9493


Montana Code

Montana Alternative Agricultural Crops (Hemp) Act - Montana Code and Administrative Rules: An unofficial compilation of the state’s regulations related to the Montana Hemp Program

MCA 80-18-1: Industrial Hemp