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NOTICE: Hemp Sampling has started in Montana

The department has begun sampling of hemp fields in Montana, a requirement of the 2018 Farm Bill to monitor THC levels. Hemp plants are in varying stages of maturity across the state, depending on variety, growing conditions, crop purpose and to some extent, planting date. The department’s goal is to sample 100% of Category C, 20% of Category B and 10% of Category A varieties.

Most growers have communicated an estimated harvest date to the department for planning purposes of inspections and sampling. However, plans change, especially when dealing with a new crop that many have not previously grown, and knowledge of harvest timing and process is limited.

The ideal conditions for the department to sample is 2 - 3 weeks prior to harvest and when terminal buds are 1½ - 2½” in length. Keep in mind that harvest of Category A and B for fiber and grain crops will be a few weeks later than for the CBD market. The key for sampling is to have enough bud material to sample.

Growers are encouraged to contact the department if you haven’t been contacted by your inspector and your plants have sizable bud material for sampling. You can contact Andy Gray at angray@mt.gov or Mikayla Moore at Mikayla.Moore@mt.gov.


Notice

Montana Hemp Production Licenses have been issued, click here to see view or download the current list (.pdf format).


Notice: Department Adds New Hemp Processor Webpage

Click here to view the new information


Online Hemp License Information Submission

Due to technical problems with the online system created for hemp license information, we have removed this online option and ask that you please make any updates on the hardcopy form mailed to you. The form can be return by mail or by email to hempinfo@mt.gov. In either case, the fees will need to be mailed to:
Montana Department of Agriculture
PO Box 200201
Helena, MT 59620

The department apologizes for any inconvenience, and is exploring options to allow for online submission of this information in the future.


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.


Montana State Hemp Program

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 hemp license application period ended June 14, 2019. The department will reopen the 2019 license application period on October 1, 2019 to consider applications for the indoor growing of hemp from October – December of 2019. The license application period for the 2020 growing season will open January 1, 2020.


Montana State Hemp License and Fees

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 April following the year the license is issued.

With the signing of the 2018 Farm Bill, the department has made changes to the hemp licensing process. There are also updates to the varieties of seed you may purchase and the corresponding inspection and testing frequency those varieties may be subject to during the growing season.

The department is issuing hemp licenses in two progressive stages. The Conditional Grower license is issued to eligible applicants so they may purchase seed and plant hemp. The Production license will be issued to eligible applicants so they can provide verification of location and variety while growing, transporting and for sale. The Production certificate will be issued after the hemp has been planted and all licensing requirements have been met. Production license requirements will include:

The additional fees are required for the department to carry out the implementation and oversight duties required by state and federal law to grow and harvest hemp. Based on comments received during the comment period, the fees were adjusted from the location and acreage fee to a single flat (planting) fee of $400 for all licensees that plant and a $250 testing fee for the Category C varieties. An initial $250 fee will be required for any person planting a Category C variety and each additional Category C variety will be charged the $250 fee when testing is conducted. The $400 planting fee and the initial $250 Category C fee will be due prior to the issuance of the Production license. The additional $250 testing fees will be due when the plant material is tested.


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:


Next Steps towards receiving the Production Hemp License

The department will be sending correspondence in the following weeks informing each grower of their information on record. Each grower will be required to submit documentation to verify, update and/or provide additional data of what was actually planted in regard to variety(s), acreage, field location(s), maps and landowner signatures. For the efficiency of data entry, do not send the information listed above until it is requested.

The following additional fees will be required when this information is returned:

  1. a single flat (planting) fee of $400 for all licensees that plant
  2. an initial $250 fee will be required for any licensee that plants a Category C variety

When the department has received confirmation of information and the additional fees, the Hemp Production license will be issued that provides verification of location and variety for growing, transporting and for sale of crop.

As harvest approaches, correspondence will be sent requiring an estimated harvest date to help with scheduling of inspection and sampling work load.

Inspections and sampling will occur throughout late summer and into early fall, within 3 weeks of harvest. At that time, the license holder will be charged $250 for each additional Category C variety sampled and tested.


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 pdf copy.


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.


Approved Seed

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.

Click here for the full Montana 2019 Hemp Seed/Clone Variety List

The categories include:

Category Hemp Seed Variety Class Approval
A Varieties previously grown in Montana Approved for planting in 2019
B Seed Certified to ASOCA or OECD standards* Approved upon review
C Seed not certified Approved upon review, increased THC testing
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.

All varieties of hemp planted in the Montana State Hemp Program must be approved by the Department.  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 less than 0.3% THC on a dry weight basis.  Category C varieties must meet the definition of hemp throughout the growing season.

Any company selling agricultural seed including hemp seed in Montana must have the required license under the Montana Seed Act. 

A seed dealer license is required for the following:

  • Any seed dealer distributing seed in Montana
  • Any person whose name appears on the label as a seed labeler
  • Any facility that conditions seed
  • Any Montana producer selling their own production with a gross annual sales value of more than $5,000

The companies listed below have distributed certified hemp seed in Montana.  This listing does not constitute or imply an endorsement or recommendation.

Parkland Industrial Hemp Growers: https://www.pihg.net/

Schiavi Seeds: http://www.schiaviseeds.com/

Hemp Genetics International: http://www.hempgenetics.com/

Northeast Heritage Limited: http://northeastheritage.com/


Frequently Asked Questions


Q: What is the difference between hemp and marijuana?

A: Industrial 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 industrial hemp and marijuana, also includes the hops plant which is used in the brewing process. By both federal and state law, hemp must contain less 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 less than 0.3% THC. Current marijuana Cannabis varieties are between 10-30% THC.

Q: Can industrial hemp be certified as organic?

A: Yes, guidelines issued by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) on August 23, 2016, authorize industrial hemp to be certified as organic. Industrial 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 industrial 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 industrial 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: Where can I get an application or license to grow industrial hemp?

A: An application to apply for a license to grow industrial hemp is available on the department website at: https://agr.mt.gov/Industrial-Hemp.

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: Do I need to submit fingerprints?

A: Yes, Montana State Law 80-18-103 (3), MCA requires first-time applicants to submit a copy of a civil fingerprint card (e.g. FD-258) from a law enforcement agency.

Q: I have a concealed carry permit. Can I use the same fingerprints for a hemp license?

A: No, the Department of Agriculture is not a law enforcement agency and does not have access to other law enforcement records. First-time applications must submit a hard copy of their fingerprints (e.g. FD-258) from a law enforcement agency.

Q: Where can I get my fingerprints taken?

A: Most local law enforcement offices, County Sherriff offices, and detention facilities provide fingerprinting services. Please have the law enforcement office send the card directly to the address on the application.

Q: Can law enforcement in another state take my fingerprints and send them for the application?

A: Yes. The physical hard copy fingerprint card (e.g. FD-258) must be sent to the address on the application. The Department of Agriculture is not a law enforcement agency and does not have access to any digital fingerprint record databases.


Growing Industrial Hemp:

Q: Will I need security to grow industrial hemp outdoors?

A: No, crop security is the responsibility of each individual grower. The Montana Department of Agriculture does not require fences or security cameras for industrial hemp cultivation. Due to the minimal THC content (0.3% or less), industrial hemp is an agricultural product, not a drug.

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 under the field information portion of the application.

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.


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.

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: Where have Montana growers purchased hemp seed?

A: In 2017 and 2018, Montana hemp pilot program growers purchased seed from these companies:

  1. Parkland Industrial Hemp Growers: http://www.pihg.net/
  2. Schiavi Seeds: http://www.schiaviseeds.com/
  3. Hemp Genetics International: http://www.hempgenetics.com/
  4. Northeast Heritage Limited: http://northeastheritage.com/

Q: What hemp varieties have Montana growers planted?

A: Montana hemp pilot program growers planted the following varieties in 2017 and 2018: Canda, Carmagnola, Carmagnola Select (CS), CFX-1, CFX-2, CRS-1, Fedora 17, Grandi, Joey, Katani, and Picolo.

Q: Can I plant seeds from another US state?

A: Yes, but all hemp varieties must be approved by Montana Department of Agriculture. Click here for the full Montana 2019 Hemp Seed/Clone Variety List.


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.

Q: Do I need a license to process hemp products?

A: The Montana Department of Agriculture licenses hemp growers only. Hemp processors may be required to license with another state or federal agency, such as Montana Department of Health and Human Services (DPHHS) or the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Some general requirements for processing products for supplements and cosmetics for human consumption can be found on the FDA website for Current Good Manufacturing Practices (CGMPs): https://www.fda.gov/Drugs/DevelopmentApprovalProcess/Manufacturing/ucm090016.htm.

 


After receiving significant interest from producers and stakeholders throughout the state, Montana Department of Agriculture (MDA) Director Ben Thomas appointed nine individuals to the Montana Hemp Advisory Committee, all for terms of one year.

Montana Hemp Advisory Committee

  • Jeremy Anderson – Fort Benton, MT (406) 739-4313
  • Jackee Beck – Deer Lodge, MT         (406) 560-5422
  • Ken Elliott – Wolf Point, MT                (720) 289-0019
  • Jamie Fitterer – Bozeman, MT           (406) 599-0731
  • Arlin Fratzke – Stevensville, MT         (406) 777-1577
  • Bart Icopini – Hysham, MT                 (406) 690-8567
  • Ross Johnson – Conrad, MT              rtjohnso@gmail.com
  • Dean Nelson – Homestead, MT         (406) 963-7570
  • Kim Phillips – Helena, MT                  (406) 221-6075

Minutes


Hemp News

"How to Apply for a Growth Through Agriculture (GTA) Grant" Webinar Now Available

"How to Apply for a Growth Through Agriculture (GTA) Grant" Webinar Now Available

The Growth Through Agriculture (GTA) program is a grant and loan program to strengthen and diversify Montana's agricultural industry through development of new agricultural products and processes. Click here to view and listen to a recording of the webinar on the Montana Department of Agriculture YouTube channel, or click here to download a PDF of the GTA Webinar Powerpoint Presentation

Hemp Sampling has started in Montana

Hemp Sampling has started in Montana

Helena, Mont. The department has begun sampling of hemp fields in Montana, a requirement of the 2018 Farm Bill to monitor THC levels. Hemp plants are in varying stages of maturity across the state, depending on variety, growing conditions, crop purpose and to some extent, planting date. The department’s goal is to sample 100% of Category C, 20% of Category B and 10% of Category A varieties.

Most growers have communicated an estimated harvest date to the department for planning purposes of inspections and sampling. However, plans change, especially when dealing with a new crop that many have not previously grown, and knowledge of harvest timing and process is limited.

The ideal conditions for the department to sample is 2 - 3 weeks prior to harvest and when terminal buds are 1½ - 2½” in length. Keep in mind that harvest of Category A and B for fiber and grain crops will be a few weeks later than for the CBD market. The key for sampling is to have enough bud material to sample.

Growers are encouraged to contact the department if you haven’t been contacted by your inspector and your plants have sizable bud material for sampling. You can contact Andy Gray at angray@mt.gov or Mikayla Moore at Mikayla.Moore@mt.gov.

Hemp Growers Reminded to Verify License Information

Hemp Growers Reminded to Verify License Information

Helena, Mont. –The Montana Department of Agriculture is reminding Montana’s hemp growers that verification of license information and additional fees are required before growers can be issued their hemp production license, which is needed to harvest and process or sell their crop. The Department sent letters to each license holder at the beginning of July asking growers to verify the crop information that will be printed on each grower’s license certificate.

Andy Gray
Hemp Program Coordinator

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