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Hemp Licensing Process - Stage 1

Hemp Licensing Process - 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, an FBI Identity History Summary as applicable, and signatures acknowledging the Attestation Statement as well as the Risk Acknowledgment Statement. The application cannot be processed and is not considered complete until all required documentation is received.  See detailed instructions and requirements on page 4 of the Hemp License Application, Stage 1.

Criminal History Report Requirement

In accordance with the 2018 Farm Bill and the Final Rule,  7 CFR Part 990 (effective March 22, 2021), the department must review a criminal history report for new applicants (you are considered a new applicant if you were not licensed in 2022), to determine eligibility for participation in the hemp program. To meet this requirement, department procedures include an FBI Identity History Summary (IdHS) be submitted for all individual applicants and, if the application is for a business entity, for each key participant.  In order to obtain an Identity History Summary applicants must submit a request to the FBI.   IdHS reports must be dated within 60 days of the application and mailed to the department directly from the FBI. Hemp program participation requires no prior convictions of felony drug charges in the previous 10 years. For more information on how to complete this process, visit https://www.fbi.gov/services/cjis/identity-history-summary-checks

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).  In turn, FSA will assign “Lot Numbers” that must be reported to the Montana Department of Agriculture on the Stage 2 Hemp Planting Report.  For more information see the FSA Acreage Reporting page.
  • 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.
  • Cultivar and location changes made after the application is processed will be subject to a $50/request change fee.  Contact hemp program staff to request the Change Request form.
  • Any company selling agricultural seed including hemp seed in Montana must have the required seed license(s) outlined in Section 80-5-101 through Section 80-5-144, Montana Code Annotated (MCA).
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 licensing fee. This fee includes the initial inspection and testing of the first Category C sample. A $250 testing fee will be required for each additional sample and a $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 licensing fee. The initial inspection fee and the first sample testing fee is waived. A $250 testing fee will be required for each additional sample and a $250 inspection/sampling fee will be required for each additional inspection.

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.