About the Hemp Program
- DACF is the licensing authority for growing hemp in Maine. Hemp is low-THC Cannabis sativa that is grown for CBD, fiber, food, and more. It is legal to grow in the US, but it is regulated, and you need a license to grow it.
- DACF is operating Maine’s hemp production plan approved by USDA. All hemp licensed in Maine meets USDA’s definition for hemp (Total THC (dry weight) is at or below 0.3%) and can be marketed nationwide.
- DACF’s Hemp Program does not license or regulate high-THC Cannabis sativa, which is better known as marijuana. All inquiries about marijuana laws and licensing must be directed to Maine’s Office of Cannabis Policy.
- DACF does not regulate the processing of hemp. Because we do not license processors, we do not keep a list of processors or markets for hemp.
Applying for a 2023 Hemp License
The new applications for indoor or outdoor hemp production are now available. To apply for a license to grow hemp in Maine please start by reviewing the Application Instructions (PDF). All application materials can be found under the License Application tab below.
Hemp News and Events
- 3/16/2022 - What is being done to support hemp farming in Maine, as the industry struggles with restrictions and lower-than-expected demand (Maine Calling)
- New Industrial Hemp (fiber processor) Plans Expansion in Vermont
- Outdoor Hemp Cultivation (YouTube) (emphasis on grain crops) – New webinar from Cornell School of Integrative Plant Science;
- Overview of Hemp Processing Systems (YouTube) (fiber, grain, oil, CBD) – New webinar from Cornell School of Integrative Plant Science
- 8/2/2021 - Exploring Hemp Products & The Regulations That Apply To Them
- 12/11/2020 - Metals in Hemp-Avoiding Contamination
What is the process for becoming licensed to grow hemp in Maine?
- Please apply at least 30 days before you intend to plant your crop so that you have a signed license agreement in hand before you plant. Include the $100 non-refundable application fee with your signed application.
- Hemp program reviews and approves application. DACF emails the grower a draft hemp license agreement.
- Agree to all the conditions and sign the license agreement. Mail this document to DACF with license fees.
- Register your growsites at your local USDA-FSA office.
- Plant your hemp in discreet lots by variety. We will sample each lot.
- Within 14 days after planting hemp, submit a planting report. This report confirms exactly where you planted within the area(s) licensed and documents that the hemp varieties planted came from stock that contained no more than 0.3% Total THC by dry weight.
- Hemp program inspects grow sites.
- Keep hemp program informed about your hemp operation, including contact information changes, crop failures, and anticipated harvest dates.
- Notify the hemp program at 30 days before harvest if your crop has not been sampled yet. Monitor your THC levels. Hemp cannot exceed 0.3% Total THC by dry weight. Hemp containing higher levels of THC will have to be destroyed if remediation is not feasible.
- An inspector samples your lots and a Certificate of Analysis for THC content is generated by the lab.
- Complete a post-harvest report.
Application & License Fee Schedule (New rules allow for lower fees for certain growers)
Maine law requires that the Department cover the costs of operating the hemp program by charging an application fee, license fee, and a per acre fee. These fees are as follows:
- $100.00 application fee – this fee must be submitted with all applications. (Please do not submit any other fees with the initial application)
- A $100.00 license fee with no additional per acre or square foot fee is required for growing hemp indoors or outdoors exclusively for the production of:
- seedlings for planting,
- immature leafy greens, or
- A $100.00 license fee with no additional per acre or square foot fee is required for growing hemp exclusively for:
- research purposes in cooperation with a recognized educational institution where no plant parts or derivatives will be used for commercial purposes or the entire crop will be destroyed.
- A $250.00 license fee with no additional per acre or square foot fee is required for growing hemp indoors or outdoors exclusively for the production of:
- seed for food oil or grain;
- immature plants (larger than microgreens or leafy greens) for human or animal food or feed;
- breeding of new cultivars indoors on less than 100 square feet; or
- soil remediation where no plant parts or derivatives will be used for commercial purposes or the entire crop will be destroyed.
- A $500.00 plus $50.00/acre fee is required for growing hemp for production of floral material, viable seed or any other commercial purpose not listed above to be planted outdoors.
- A $500.00 plus $0.25 per square foot fee is required for growing hemp for production of floral material, viable seed or any other commercial purpose not listed above to be planted indoors.
- Indoor facilities that will plant hemp on multiple levels within a structure shall calculate the square feet of growing area by adding the surface area of each tier together.
- The maximum license fee for an individual license agreement shall be $20,000. Partial acreage or square footage should be rounded up to the next whole acre or square foot.
- All grower license fees include THC lab analysis for one hemp lot. An additional fee of $60.00 per additional lot must be submitted with the grower planting report.
**Please be aware that the number of acres (or square feet) you have requested to grow on cannot be increased once the license is finalized.
Non-contiguous growing areas or facilities separated by more than 50 miles require a separate license application and fees. Please note that license and application fees charged must cover all program costs. This includes travel cost for all inspections, all necessary analysis fees, and salaries for all hemp program personnel.
Fees collected will cover Departmental costs including, but not limited to:
- Inspector travel costs including time to and from the growing area to take crop samples for THC content analysis;
- Costs of transporting crop samples to a lab for THC content analysis;
- Laboratory fees for testing crop samples;
- Costs of equipment and supplies used in sampling;
- Departmental time reviewing applications, preparing licensing agreements and issuing licenses;
- Other administrative costs.
Applications for License
- Application Instructions (PDF)
- License Application for Outdoor Production of Hemp (PDF)
- License Application for Indoor Production of Hemp (PDF)
- Criminal History Report Guidance (PDF)
- Landowner Consent Form (PDF)
- USDA-FSA County Office Reporting Guidance (PDF)
Choosing hemp varieties, buying seeds, seedlings, clones
Maine does not certify hemp seed nor does Maine publish a list of approved or prohibited hemp strains/varieties/cultivars.
For hemp to be hemp, its Total THC concentration must not exceed 0.3% on a dry weight basis. While genetics plays the main role in determining THC expression, many environmental factors can influence it, including plant maturity, temperature, water, soil fertility, and any number of stressors.
There are many types of hemp advertised as varieties, cultivars, strains and crosses. They may not have been bred and stabilized as other crop plants have been. They may exhibit unstable traits. Few have been certified by AOSCA and those that have are typically varieties grown for fiber and grain, not CBD. To grow a more uniform and predictable crop, some growers plant clones. Whatever you decide to use, choose your hemp seed or clones carefully, and make sure you get third-party laboratory documentation about the THC concentration of the parent plants. As you farm, take notes about crop performance, monitor your crop’s THC content while buds form, and test for other cannabinoids if you are growing for a CBD market.
To comply with the Maine law when you purchase seed, seedlings or clones, you must retain documentation that could include a letter, form, or other written verification or combination of documents that at a minimum includes:
- Third party (someone other than the applicant and the grower of the seed) THC content testing results for the hemp (often called a Certificate of Analysis or COA). The third party should be identified on the testing results;
- THC content test results must be for the variety or varieties included on the application and preferably for the specific lot of seed to be planted;
- Results of THC content testing and the date tests were conducted;
- The name of the seed supplier and origin of the seed.
You must submit this documentation with your planting report, which is due within 14 days after planting.
Sampling and Testing
The licensee will allow the inspection and sampling of the hemp crop at any and all times that the Department deems necessary. The licensee will be notified prior to inspection and sampling. During the inspection and sampling the licensee or authorized representative will allow complete and unrestricted access to all hemp plants within the licensed growing area(s).
If the hemp crop has not been inspected and sampled 30 days prior to the anticipated harvest date, the licensee will notify the Department of intent to harvest.
Plants will be randomly sampled in each hemp lot and tested for THC content.
Crops testing above the allowable THC limit (0.3% Total THC on a dry weight basis) will be destroyed in a manner approved by the Department. The licensee is responsible for paying all costs associated with crop destruction.
Pest Management Resources for Hemp Crops
- Maine Registered Pesticide Products Labeled for Use on Hemp (XLSX)
- Hemp Insect Factsheets, Colorado State University
- Hemp Integrated Pest Management Updates (PDF), Hillary Peterson, Entomologist
- The Neapolitan (Hemp Infused) Pest Control Treat—A layer of IPM sandwiched between Maine field research findings and pesticide considerations. Zoom recording of presentations by Hillary Peterman, John Jemison, Mary Tomlinson and Mary Yurlina as part of Board of Pesticides Control’s offerings for pesticide recertification credits at the Ag Trades Show.
List of Licensed Hemp Growers
- Licensed Hemp Growers (XLSX) - Updated May 22, 2023