Around the world, federal governments are starting to reintroduce hemp as a legalized agricultural crop. HempAlta has collected up to date and credible information regarding hemp and CBD legislation in Canada and the United States.

Laws & Regulations

Industrial Hemp Regulations

On March 12, 1998 the Canadian government started a program call the Industrial Hemp Regulation Program. This program made it legal for Canadian farmers to grow low-TCH cannabis for industrial commercial purposes, with regulatory approvals including licenses, permits and authorizations from Health Canada.

In 2015, Health Canada issued 1135 commercial hemp licenses with 63% of these license being for cultivation purposes. The remaining 37% of licenses were for importation/exportation, sales or distribution, possession and processing purposes.

CBD Regulations

According to the Government of Canada’s Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations (ACMPR), under the Controlled Drugs and Substance Act (CDSA), cannabidiol (CBD) derived from cannabis is legal in Canada with authorization from a licensed healthcare practitioner or producer and if you are a registered medical patient. Once the new Cannabis Act comes into effect on October 17, 2018 the regulations will be repealed and CBD will be legal for recreational use.

Under the current Industrial Hemp Regulations, hemp-derived CBD from leaves and flowers is illegal, however, CBD that is naturally occurring in hemp fiber is unregulated and legal. This regulation is set to change when the Cannabis Act comes into effect in October 2018, as amendments to Industrial Hemp Regulations will allow CBD to be derived from hemp.

License Applications

License holders under the IHR are permitted to cultivate, import and export (with permits for each shipment), process, distribute, possess, sample and sell industrial hemp.

Anyone is welcomed to apply for commercial hemp licenses and permits. It is recommended that cultivators (farmers) apply for a license six (6) months prior to grow season to ensure applications are processed in a timely manner. Permits are valid for three (3) months, while licenses are valid for one (1) calendar year and license holders must reapply yearly.

Application forms can be found on Health Canada’s website, at Health Canada’s Regional Office or the Office of Controlled Substances. Applicants must submit a criminal record check, GPS coordinates, original signatures on all documents, appropriate schedules, and all supporting documentation along with their application.

Approved Cultivars

Industrial Hemp Regulations allows an assortment of industrial hemp to be labelled as an approved cultivar. In order to be included on the List of Approved Cultivars, the variation must be recognized by a responsible authority as being distinct, uniform, stable, and contain less than 0.3% THC. Once recognized, the plant breeder can submit a request to the Office of Control Substances to include it on the list.  The list is published yearly and contains viable information on the varieties of industrial hemp that can be used for commercial cultivation and its testing requirements. Here is the 2016 List of Approved Cultivars. 

Resource Links

For more information on Canadian legislation for the hemp industry, please visit the Health Canada’s website.

United States of America

Hemp Law & Regulations

Industrial hemp in the United States is defined as cannabis with less than 0.3% THC and 1% THC in West Virginia. Industrial hemp was made federally legal in December 2018. To date over 30 states have enacted or established legislation to allow the cultivation of industrial hemp. Over 10 states have legalized commercial hemp and over 20 states have passed research and pilot programs. The map below depicts the states that allow cultivation of hemp for commercial and/or research purposes. For state information, click the state tabs below the map.


Industrial hemp is permitted for research purposes administered by the Alabama Department of Agriculture and universities.


Industrial hemp is permitted under for research purposes under a pilot program carried out by the Department of Natural Resources.


Industrial hemp is allowed to be cultivated for research purposes in Arkansas; the research program is carried out by the University of Arkansas’s Division of Agriculture and the Arkansas Economic Development Commission.


Industrial hemp is allowed to be cultivated for research purposes through established research institutions or by a registered seed breeders in California. Commercial hemp has been introduced and is overseen by the Hemp Advisory Board. Registration is currently unavailable for commercial industrial hemp cultivation, however once available, individuals must be registered with the county agricultural commissioner. Applicants will be required to submit the seed variety they will be growing and what the crop will be grown for. Licenses for commercial hemp is valid for two (2) years before a renewal needs to be processed. For more information on California hemp legislation, please visit California Industrial Hemp Laws and the California Department of Agriculture.


Allows both commercial and research industrial hemp to be cultivated in Colorado. Industrial hemp production is overseen by the Industrial Hemp Committee under the Department of Agriculture (CDA). The annual registration fee for industrial hemp production is $500 USD  plus $5 per acre outdoors and/or $0.33/1000 sq. ft. indoors. In addition to production, the CDA also administers a seed certification program and is in the process of approving certified industrial seed varieties. For more information on hemp production, see the complete Rule List and the Department FAQ.


Industrial hemp cultivation for research purposes is permitted by universities. The program is overseen by the Delaware Department of Agriculture.


Industrial hemp growth is permitted for research purposes in Florida; research is carried out by Florida A&M University and the University of Florida.


The Hawaii Department of Argiculture (HDOA) have established legislation to grow industrial hemp for commercial and research purposes. Licenses will be made available by January-April 2018 and will cost $250 plus $2 per acre. Growers are required to report to the HDOA on a week before harvesting and would need a permit to transport. Please see Senate Bill 2659 for more information on industrial hemp in Hawaii.


The Illinois Department of Agriculture and universities are allowed to grow hemp for research purposes. Universities must submit annual reports to the Department of Agriculture. For more information see section 15.2 of the the Cannabis Control Act.


Industrial hemp production and handling is permitted for commercial and research purposes by licensed cultivators. Currently, there are strict state laws to growing industrial hemp. Cultivators and handlers must obtain a hemp seed production license from the state seed commissioner. For more information on industrial hemp in Indiana, see the Indiana Hemp Industrial Act.


The Kentucky Department of Agriculture (KDA) has allowed the cultivation of industrial hemp are both research and commercial purposes, with the focus primarily on research. Certified seeds must be used and a production report must be submitted to the KDA by December 1 yearly. The Kentucky Industrial Hemp Commission oversees and administers licensing, testing and implements the rules & regulations regarding the program. For more information on the Industrial Hemp Pilot program, see the KDA pilot program2017 fee schedule, and the program policy guide.


Growth of industrial hemp for research and commercial purposes is allowed in Maine. Growers must get a license for seed distribution and use certified seeds. For more information including policies and fee information, see the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry.


Industrial hemp can be cultivated for research purposes by the Maryland Department of Agriculture and universities. In addition, anyone can get a license to plant, grow, harvest, possess, sell and buy industrial hemp. For more information see House Bill 803 and House Bill 443.


Industrial hemp is allowed to be cultivated for both research and commerical purposes. Regulations are controlled by the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources (MDAR).


Industrial hemp can be grown for research purposes by the Michigan Department of Agriculture & Rural Development (MDARD) as well as universities. For more information see MDARD.


An industrial hemp pilot program is active, allowing universities and individuals to apply to grow hemp for research purposes. Minnesota has also established commercial licensing. The program is overseen by the commissioner of agriculture at the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) and all activity regarding industrial hemp including findings, seed varieties and distribution must be reported. For more information visit the MDA’s FAQ and the Pilot Program Application.


Industrial hemp is permitted for commercial and research purposes. Commercial growers are required to use certified seeds and acquire permission from the DEA. Licenses cost $50 and $400 to participate in the pilot program. There is a $600 fee for specialty variety seeds. See the Montana Department of Agriculture for information on approved hemp products in Montana and for application forms.


Nebraska permits cultivation of industrial hemp for research purposes, implemented by the Department of Agriculture and universities.


Only allows cultivation for research and development pilot programs. The Nevada Department of Agriculture and universities are currently the only two entities allowed to carry out the industrial hemp pilot program. As of June 2017, cultivation of hemp as been made legal for commercial purposes in Nevada. For more information please see the Nevada Hemp Production FAQ.

New Hampshire

Industrial hemp is allowed to be cultivated for research purposes by universities. The research must be completed in 3 years from start time and coordinate with the New Hampshire Department of Agriculture, Markets and Food.

New York

Under the Industrial Hemp Pilot Program in New York, the Department of Agriculture and Markets and universities can grow hemp for research purposes. The commissioner of agriculture can only authorize ten (10) grow sites for the program and may develop regulations to obtain hemp seeds. For more information see the Program Guidance. In July 2017, Governor Cuomo signed legislation making hemp an agricultural commodity; for more information on regulations and requirements see the Research Initiative. 

North Carolina

A pilot program has been established to allow industrial hemp for research purposes to be grown by the Commission, North Carolina State and North Carolina A&T State Universities. It is overseen by the Industrial Hemp Commission within the North Carolina Department of Agriculture. See the temporary rules in place for the pilot program for more information.

North Dakota

The North Dakota Department of Agriculture (NDDA) controls the cultivation of industrial hemp through the Industrial Hemp Pilot Program. In addition to granting permission to universities to cultivate for research purposes, commercial hemp is allowed. The NDDA must be informed of all commercial activity and applicants are required to submit a notarized application form, two (2) sets of fingerprints and a signed Memorandum of Understanding.


Commercial hemp cultivation is allowed by the Oregon Department of Agriculture (ODA). Registrations are valid for one (1) calendar year and will cost approximately $1300 USD for grower or handler applications and $120 USD for a hemp seed production registration. For more information please see the Oregon Hemp Rules.


Currently, universities and the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture are permitted to cultivate hemp for research purposes.

Rhode Island

Hemp can be cultivated for both commercial and research purposes in Rhode Island. The commercial program is overseen by the Department of Business Regulation. For more information, see the Hemp Growth Act.

South Carolina

Industrial hemp can be cultivated for both commercial and research purposes in South Carolina. The Department of Agriculture will allow up to twenty (20) permits in the first year and forty (40) permits every year after. For more information see Chapter 55 of Bill 3559.


The Tennessee Department of Agriculture allows for the cultivation of hemp for commercial and research purposes. The Commissioner of Agriculture regulates and develops program rules for licensing. For more information on industrial hemp in Tennessee and application forms, see the Tennessee Department of Agriculture.


The Utah Department of Agriculture (UDA) controls industrial hemp cultivation and only cultivates for research purposes. The UDA also certifies universities to implement industrial hemp research.


Industrial hemp for commercial purposes is permitted. Registration must be completed yearly and more information can be found at the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Foods & Market.


Under the Virginia Board of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) and the Commissioner, industrial hemp can be cultivated for research and commercial purposes. The commissioner regulates separate licenses for research and commercial cultivation with a maximum $250 application fee. For more information see Senate Bill 691 and VDACS for the list of research programs.


In Washington state, the Industrial Hemp Research Pilot (IHRP) allows industrial hemp for research purposes only; commercial has not been made legal, however research may explore commercial viability. The Department of Agriculture plans to start issuing licenses in spring 2017. For more information, visit the Department of Agriculture.

West Virginia

Hemp production for commercial purposes is permitted. Industrial hemp in West Virginia needs to produce less than 1% THC opposed to 0.3% in all other states. Applications are filed to the West Virginia Commissioner of Agriculture, whom also communicates legislative rules including testing and fees. For more information see Chapter 19 of the West Virginia Code.


Industrial hemp can be cultivated for commercial purposes in Wisconsin. The legalization was passed in Q4 2018 with unanimous support.


Industrial hemp is allowed to be cultivated for commercial and research purposes in Wyoming.

Industrial Farming Act

In February 2014, the President of the United States signed the Agriculture Act of 2014, otherwise known as Farm Bill 2014 (refer to section 7606), to allow universities and state departments of agriculture to cultivate industrial hemp for research and pilot program purposes. Despite this bill, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) controls and regulates hemp production as it is still considered a Schedule I controlled substance. As a result, the cultivating land must be certified and registered by the state and permitted by the DEA before seeds can be sowed.

To bypass the DEA’s regulation, in 2015 the Industrial Hemp Farm Act was introduced to permit states to produce and cultivate industrial hemp and remove industrial hemp from the Controlled Substance Act as long as it contained less than 0.3% THC. The bill is currently awaiting to be passed.

Farm Bill 2018

In June 2018, the Senate passed their version of the farm bill, including provisions to legalize the cultivation, processing and sale of industrial hemp. The President of the United States signed this bill into law on December 20, 2018.

License Application

Similar to Canada, cultivators must be licensed or permitted by the state agency in order to grow industrial hemp. Licenses are valid for one (1)  to three (3) calendar years and before a renewal is required. All states require GPS coordinates and a map of the cultivating land along with other supporting documentation for license applications.

Hemp-Derived CBD

Under government regulation hemp-derived CBD extracted from licensed cultivators is legal in the United States.

…hemp CBD (cannabidiol) is not illegal because it has been grown in a legal country, imported to the US legally, and the CBD has been extracted from the legal mature stalk of the hemp plant.” – Kristina Pescatore (2017) Industry News

Resource Links

CBD Law & Regulations

The Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) has stated cannabinoids are NOT illegal, depending on the legal source they are derived from. A release by the DEA states:

Products and materials that are made from the cannabis plant and which fall outside the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) definition of marijuana are not controlled under the CSA. Such products may accordingly be sold and otherwise distributed throughout the United States without restriction under the CSA or its implementing regulations. The mere presence of cannabinoids is not itself dispositive as to whether a substance is within the scope of the CSA;

Furthermore, the 2014 Farm Bill is often cited as evidence hemp-derived CBD is legal in the United States.  The legislation legalizes industrial hemp cultivation under state pilot programs and for academic research. The map below depicts states that have legalized CBD for medicinal use with conditions.


The University of Alabama Birmingham is allowed to provide CBD for debilitating epileptic conditions.


In July 2018, the California Department of Public Health issued a memo stating hemp-derived CBD is illegal and is banned from being sold and produced in the state.


CBD that is at least 10% CBD by weight and has less than 0.8% THC is allowed for compassionate use registered by the Department of Health.


CBD with less than 5% THC is allowed for terminally ill conditions. The law also allows the University System of Georgia to develop a research program that meets FDA trial compliance.


CBD that is at least 5% CBD by weight and has less than 0.3% THC is allowed from treatment-resistant epilepsy. Furthermore, in April 2018, a law was signed allowing the distribution and retail sale of hemp-derived CBD products.


CBD with less than 3% THC, is no more than 32oz, and is free of plant materials is allowed for intractable epilepsy. Methods of state access and production have not been defined.


CBD is allowed to be administered by a public university or school of medicine in Kentucky for clinical trial or an FDA approved program. In-state production of CBD is not allowed.


Cannabis extract, oil or resin with more than 15% CBD and less than 0.5% THC is allowed to be administered by the Department of Pharmacy Services at the University of Mississippi Medical Center.


Hemp-derived CBD that is at least 5% CBD and less than 0.3% THC is allowed for intractable epilepsy. Under Missouri law, hemp-derived CBD can be cultivated and manufactured in state.

North Carolina

Hemp-derived CBD with less than 0.9% THC and at least 5% CBD by weight is allowed for intractable epilepsy. Patients must register with the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS).


CBD oil with no more than 0.3% THC is allowed for treatment of severe forms of epilepsy.

South Carolina

CBD oil that is more than 15% CBD and less than 0.9% THC is allowed, with written certification stating the medical condition and signed by a physician. The CBD must be administered by the Medical University of South Carolina in a clinical study.


CBD with less than 0.9% THC is allowed. The CBD must be legally obtained in the United States, outside of Tennessee.


CBD is allowed with less than 0.5% THC and at least 10% CBD for treatment of intractable epilepsy. Registered patients must obtain the CBD from a licensed organization by the Department of Public Safety.


CBD is allowed for treatment of intractable epilepsy or end-of-life care with a signed statement from a neurologist. The extract must have at least 15% CBD by weight and less than 0.3% THC. Legalization was signed in 2018 to permit the production and manufacturing of hemp-derived CBD products, sold at cannabidiol-qualified pharmacies.


CBD oil with at least 15% CBD and no more than 5% THC is allowed for treatment of intractable epilepsy.


CBD is allowed for medical treatment with written approval from a physician; CBD levels have not yet been defined.


CBD with at least 15% CBD by weight and no more than 0.3% THC for treatment of intractable epilepsy is allowed.

CBD is illegal in Idaho, South Dakota, Kansas, and Nebraska. The all other states have fully legalized medical use without conditions of all CBD products derived from both hemp and marijuana.

Disclaimer: Every attempt has been made to ensure the accuracy and reliability of the information provided on this website. All information present on HempAlta is not intended to constitute or substitute for legal advice. Please consult state legal counsel to verify accuracy of information.