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Montana State Hemp Program

A hemp license is required to cultivate hemp in Montana, applicants must comply with Section 80-18-101 through 80-18-111 of MCA and ARM 4.19.101-202. A hemp license provides authorization for the production of hemp at a particular growing area by a particular individual or entity.


Notice: Montana's HEMP Plan IMPLEMENTATION 

The Montana State Hemp Program will continue operating under authorities provided for in the 2014 pilot program until January 2022, or until Congressional allowance lapses.  

The details of the state's 2021 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, testing for Total THC, reporting and enforcement.


Growing hemp within tribal reservation boundaries:

On January 15, 2021, USDA released its Final Rule on federal hemp regulations and the requirements that state and tribes must abide by to implement their own hemp plan. One of the more important updates is the clarification on jurisdiction regarding the licensing of hemp growers within tribal boundaries, effective immediately.

The state of Montana does not have authority over hemp grown within the boundaries of tribal reservations. That authority rests with the tribal nation on the reservation or the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), depending on the status of the resident tribe’s hemp plan. Any person interested in growing hemp within reservation boundaries, whether a tribal member or not,  must contact their resident tribe or the USDA to request information on hemp licensing requirements.



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: 2021 LICENSING APPLICATION PERIOD NOW OPEN

Montana State Hemp License and Fees

The 2021 Indoor/Outdoor License is valid from the time of issuance until December 30, 2021. Late applications will not be accepted. Please note there will be no online application option for submission in 2021, the form must be mailed or emailed.

The department issues hemp licenses in (2) two progressive stages.  Upon approval of the initial application, eligible applicants will be issued a Planting Permit so they may purchase seed or live plants, and seed or transplant 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. Any applicant that does not meet the conditions of the Production License will forfeit their Planting Permit and the crop(s) will require destruction.

 

Hemp License Application, Stage 1

The initial license application stage requires, entity information, key participant information, and verification of seed/live plant source. Additional requirements include payment in full of the nonrefundable application fee, and signatures acknowledging the Attestation Statement as well as the Risk Acknowledgment Statement. See detailed instructions and requirements within the Hemp License Application, Stage 1. Click here to download the form.

Useful information associated with the Stage 1 licensing process:

  • The USDA Final Rule requires all license holders to report their hemp growing locations and acreage to the USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA).  Information on this requirement can be found in USDA’s Final Rule at https://www.ams.usda.gov/rules-regulations/hemp or by contacting your county FSA office.  A complete list of Montana local offices can be found at  https://www.fsa.usda.gov/state-offices/Montana/index.
  • The department has developed four risk-based categories of hemp cultivars. The cultivar you choose will determine the level of review your application receives and the level of testing for your crop.  All cultivars that meet the definitions of Category A, B or C are allowed.
    • Click here for the 2021 Hemp Seed/Clone Variety List.
  • Cultivar and location changes made after the application is processed will be subject to a $50/request change fee.  Contact the hemp program technician Mikayla Moore by email at Mikayla.Moore@mt.gov to request the Change Request form.
  • Any company selling agricultural seed including hemp seed in Montana must have the required license under Section 80-5-101 through Section 80-5-144 MCA. 
  • SALE OF LIVE HEMP PLANT - 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.          
  •  SOS business search link - https://biz.sosmt.gov/
  • AOSCA and the process of submitting seed for official certification, https://www.aosca.org/.

 

Fees:

Licensees who plant a Category C cultivar are required to pay the $1,100 fee. This fee includes the initial inspection and testing of the first Category C sample. An additional $250 testing fee will be required for each additional sample and an additional $250 inspection/sampling fee will be required for each additional inspection.

Licensees who plant only Category A or B varieties are required to pay the $850 fee. The initial inspection fee and the first sample testing fee is waived under Montana’s Pilot Program. Additional inspection and testing fees will apply as outlined above.

Regardless of Category planted, growers who request sampling (e.g., insurance claim) will be charged the standard $250 inspection fee and the standard $250 testing fee.

The department may assess a processing fee of $100 for any late or incomplete documentation associated with the licensing process and a change fee of $50 for a request for each new cultivar or location associated with a previously processed license application.


Stage Two Application Process

Applicants who receive the initial Planting Permit must submit the Hemp Planting Report, whether a crop was planted or not. 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.

 

Hemp Planting Report due dates:

Indoor and Outdoor crops:

  • Within 4 weeks after planting seeds, receiving starter-plants, or rooting of clones
    • If a crop, Lot, or a certain variety/strain was not planted, report “Not Planted”
    • If a crop, Lot, or a certain variety/strain failed and will not be harvested, report “Crop Failed”
  • For Outdoor crops, the Hemp Planting Report is due no later than July 30th.
  • Late or incomplete submissions are susceptible to a $100 processing fee.
  • The Hemp Planting Report must be received and approved before the Production license can be issued.  Allow approximately 3 - 4 weeks for processing.

 

Planting Report Submission Guidance: If a grower has multiple plantings per year separated by more than 4-weeks, multiple Planting Reports will be required.  Within 4 weeks of planting seeds, receiving starter-plants, or rooting of clones, the license holder must submit a Planting Report.  Plants that are never intended to be harvested must also be reported, including mother plants and plants that are intended to be sold as live plants.

 

Harvest Notification - Each license holder is responsible for contacting the department a minimum of 30 days prior to harvest to confirm actual harvest date and schedule an inspection within 3-weeks pre-harvest.  The license holder may contact either the Helena office or their district field office.  The inspection date will be coordinated between the grower and the inspector, see contact list below for all district inspectors. All Category C strains must be inspected and sampled.  Only a percentage of Category A and B varieties require inspection, but the harvest date of all Lots must be confirmed; the inspector will determine which Category A and B Lots require sampling.  Crops harvested without notification, regardless of Category, are subject to destruction.

 

Contact either your district hemp inspector or the Helena office to schedule your inspection a minimum of 30 days prior to harvest

 

 

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Billings

Margaret Misner

(406) 652-3616

Margaret.Misner@mt.gov

Bozeman

Ryan Solberg

(406) 556-4535

RSolberg@mt.gov

Conrad

Dawn Bales

(406) 278-9120

DBales@mt.gov

Forsyth

Lori Vance

(406) 346-5483

LVance@mt.gov

Glasgow

Robyn Cassel

(406) 228-8012

RCassel@mt.gov

Great Falls

Jeff Drummond

(406) 761-0926

JDrummond@mt.gov

Helena

Mikayla Moore

(406) 444-5430

Mikayla.Moore@mt.gov

Kalispell

Taylor Cline

(406) 257-9014

Taylor.Cline@mt.gov

Missoula

Laurie Neuman

(406) 329-1345

LNeuman@mt.gov

 

Fees:

No fees are required with the Planting Report.  Any additional inspection or testing fees will be invoiced after the testing has been completed.

A license holder that requires multiple sampling events (due to extended or multiple harvest dates, lack of or incorrect harvest date reporting, or requests for subsequent Lot sampling) will be responsible for additional sampling/testing fees, regardless of the variety Category.


 

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.


Research License

The department will implement a ‘research’ license component for hemp in March 2021.This license will be in addition to the regular ‘commercial’ license requirement for growing hemp. In the context of this license, ‘research’ means “growing hemp in a manner which the resulting hemp may not conform to the USDA guidelines in some manner. This includes but is not limited to the use of a pesticide not approved for hemp, efforts to lower a cultivar’s THC level through hybridization, or development of new cultivars which are not from certified seed. Research must be conducted with the intent of improving or expanding upon the genetics and/or cultivation practices of hemp”.

Not every person who wants to experiment or conduct research with hemp varieties will require a Research License. If a person is interested or believes they require the Research License, contact Hemp Program personnel to discuss your operation and plans. Research License forms are not provided on this website and are available by request only.

Hemp plants and plant parts:

  1. cannot enter commerce;
  2. cannot be used for personal use or gain;
  3. can only be grown indoors unless granted an exception from the department;
  4. can only be grown with the goal of establishing improved hemp genetics or other legitimate purposes approved by the department;
  5. must be tracked and reported to the department beginning with the license application and throughout the licensing year; and
  6. shall be destroyed, other than seed for propagation used for further research and potential future genetics. All research findings must be reported to the department. The THC testing of research plants is the responsibility of the license holder. Proven and established varieties must be approved by the department before entering a non-research phase and entering commerce. 


 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



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. Hemp and marijuana are the same species of plant and may look very similar under similar growing conditions.

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: 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
◆ Mike Foster   Helena, MT   (406) 444-3144

Hemp News

Montana Department of Revenue Has Begun Process to Make Licenses Available for Recreational Marijuana Cultivation and Sale

MT Dept. of Revenue will make licenses available for recreational marijuana cultivation and sale by October 1, 2021

Montana Department of Revenue Has Begun Process to Make Licenses Available for Recreational Marijuana Cultivation and Sale

The Montana Department of Revenue has begun the process to make licenses available for recreational marijuana cultivation and sale by October 1, 2021, following the recent voter approval of Initiative 190. 

Under the new law, the department will license and regulate the cultivation, transportation and sale of marijuana and marijuana-infused products, will inspect premises where marijuana is cultivated or sold, and will collect the 20 percent tax on the retail sales of the products. 

Only currently licensed providers in the Montana Medical Marijuana Program may apply for the new non-medical licenses for the first 12 months they are available. 

Anyone interested in receiving updates on the department’s activities related to I-190 can sign up with the department at MTRevenue.gov/Marijuana

Montana Department of Agriculture Releases Hemp Marketplace

Montana hemp buyers and sellers can connect through new Hemp Marketplace

Montana Department of Agriculture Releases Hemp Marketplace

The Montana Department of Agriculture (MDA) announced today that the Hemp Marketplace is now available to buyers and sellers of hemp and hemp derivatives. The online portal can be accessed by visiting the department’s website.

“With hemp being a relatively new crop grown in Montana, the department recognizes that these markets are still developing,” said MDA Director Ben Thomas. “The Hemp Marketplace was developed to help facilitate connections between buyers and sellers. I’m looking forward to seeing how the marketplace will continue to advance the industry.”

Click here to visit the Hemp Marketplace.

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.

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