USDA Approves Maine Hemp Production Plans
September 3, 2020
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AUGUSTA - On Wednesday, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) approved Maine's hemp production plans. With the approval, the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry (DACF) assumes primary regulatory responsibility for hemp production within its jurisdiction, under the oversight of the USDA Domestic Hemp Production Program.
"Hemp is becoming an important part of Maine's agriculture sector. Approval of our hemp production plan means Maine's growers will have certainty about the expectations and guidelines for hemp cultivation for the coming years," commented DACF Commissioner Amanda Beal.
Because Maine allows for hemp production under existing state law, the Department must act to reconcile the differences between its existing program and the Interim Final Rule during the upcoming January 2021 legislative session. The statutory changes and subsequent rulemaking will authorize hemp production and provide the Department with the authority needed to regulate hemp production in a manner consistent with the 2018 Farm Bill and the USDA's Interim Final Rule that establishes the U.S. Domestic Hemp Production Program.
Maine's hemp program has been in place since 2016, beginning with one grower who harvested seed from less than an acre. Today the program includes 110 outdoor licenses and 362 licensed acres of planted Hemp and seven indoor grower licenses, with over 22,700 licensed square feet planted. Hemp is grown in every one of Maine's 16 counties, and the varieties grown thrive in all parts of the state.