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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 2019 application period for the Montana State Hemp Program is now open. Completed applications are due by May 1st, 2019.

 

The Montana State Hemp Application Form (.pdf format) and fees must be received by the Department by May 1st, 2019 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


Montana State Hemp License Fees - $450

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.

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 will be issuing hemp grower licenses in two progressive stages. A conditional license will be issued to eligible applicants so they may purchase seed. Conditionally licensed applicants are those that have paid the full $450 fee and have had their fingerprints submitted. Full licensure will be granted upon review of a complete application indicating the required growing locations, seed variety(s) and land owner signatures.

 

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 full list is found here. The variety you choose will determine the level of review your application receives and the testing frequency of your crop. 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), the International Seed Testing Association (ISTA), and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) standards.  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.  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. Approved hemp seed varieties must be certified by the Association of Official Seed Certifying Agencies (AOSCA) and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) standards and recognized by the department as being true to variety and less than 0.3% THC on a dry weight basis. A list of approved varieties for planting in the current license season will be published on the department’s website by March 1 each year (https://agr.mt.gov/Industrial-Hemp).


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
  • Jackee Beck – Deer Lodge, MT
  • Ken Elliott – Wolf Point, MT
  • Jamie Fitterer – Bozeman, MT
  • Arlin Fratzke – Stevensville, MT
  • Bart Icopini – Hysham, MT
  • Ross Johnson – Conrad, MT
  • Dean Nelson – Homestead, MT
  • Kim Phillips – Helena, MT

Industrial Hemp News

From Montana Public Radio: New Montana Hemp Advisory Committee Will Hold Inaugural Meeting

From Montana Public Radio: New Montana Hemp Advisory Committee Will Hold Inaugural Meeting

Now that industrial hemp is legal to produce, thanks to the federal 2018 Farm Bill, the Montana Department of Agriculture has set up a committee to help producers research and market the crop. The first ever Montana Hemp Advisory Committee is set to hold its inaugural meeting April 3 in Helena.

That announcement Thursday from Montana Department of Agriculture Director Ben Thomas.

“When I held listening sessions in Sidney and Helena we had very good attendance and there was actually a 100-percent vote at both meetings to proceed with forming this committee. There definitely is a lot of interest out there and I’m excited about it.” 

Click here to read the full article on the Montana Public Radio website.

MDA Announces Appointments to Montana Hemp Advisory Committee

First Meeting Set for April 3rd in Helena

MDA Announces Appointments to Montana Hemp Advisory Committee

Helena, Mont. – After receiving significant interest from producers and stakeholders throughout the state, Montana Department of Agriculture (MDA) Director Ben Thomas announced today that nine individuals have been appointed to the Montana Hemp Advisory Committee.

“We are grateful that so many folks were interested in serving on the Hemp Advisory Committee, and the selection process wasn’t easy,” said Director Thomas. “The appointees represent Montana hemp growers both large and small, and also reflect the diverse growing regions of Montana’s ag industry. I look forward to working with the committee to shape the future of Montana’s hemp industry.”

Industrial Hemp Program Frequently Asked Questions

Andy Gray
Commodity Services Bureau Chief

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

 

Industrial Hemp Program Forms & Files

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