Hemp Program Applications Open to Growers

February 5, 2020

For more information contact: Jim Britt at jim.britt@maine.gov

AUGUSTA - The Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry (DACF) hemp program is now accepting applications. DACF Indoor and Outdoor Hemp License Applications are available on the Bureau of Agriculture, Food and Rural Resources website, and are due at least 30 days before the anticipated date of planting.

Two proposed rule changes not implemented were an increase in the outdoor license acreage fee from $50 to $100/acre and using 0.3 % total THC content instead of delta9-THC only as the defining line between hemp and marijuana.

The Department listened to growers and others during the public comment period of the rulemaking process. The message was clear; 2020 is not the year to increase fees. The outdoor license acreage fee will remain at $50/acre.

Public feedback was also overwhelmingly in favor of keeping the definition of hemp as a Cannabis sativa L. plant that contains not more than 0.3% delta-9-THC only. Maine will continue to use the 0.3 % delta-9-THC only measurement at least through October 31, 2020, when a USDA-approved program will have to begin.

Three other proposed changes were included in the final rule. The first is unlimited licenses for indoor hemp. The fee for an indoor license will be $500.00 plus $0.25 per square foot of growing area. Being able to grow hemp crops in greenhouses and other indoor structures year-round is an option many Maine farmers have wanted since hemp growing became legal in Maine in 2016.

Another change that did get implemented was a rolling application process. Instead of only being able to apply during the January 1 - April 1 window, applications will be accepted year-round. No longer will all licenses expire at the end of the calendar year; hemp licenses will expire 365 days after the date of issue. When to apply is up to the grower but should be at least 30 days before their anticipated planting date.

The third change that remains in the final rule is the $20,000 cap on licensing agreement fees for either indoor or outdoor licenses separately.

For more information on Maine's hemp licensing program, including the revised Chapter 274, Rules for Growing Hemp, visit https://www.maine.gov/dacf/php/hemp/

Educational Opportunity - Growing Hemp in Maine, Presented by University of Maine Cooperative Extension, Friday, March 6, 2020, at Jeffs Catering in Brewer, Maine. Registrations are being taken on https://extension.umaine.edu/agriculture/growing-hemp-in-maine/.