Hemp Licensing

About DACF's 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.
  • In Maine, an adult can have up to 3 hemp plants for personal (non-commercial) use without a license.
  • 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 Marijuana 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.

Hemp News and Events

Maine Legislative News

To implement a USDA approved hemp licensing plan in 2022, amendments will need to be in place to bring state statutes into conformance with the USDA final rule for hemp. Once the new statutes are in place the Department will have to amend the current licensing rules in CMR 01-001 Chapter 274 to fully implement an approved state plan for the 2022 growing season.

Hemp Newsletters

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Hemp Resources

What is the process for becoming licensed to grow hemp in Maine?

  1. Apply for a license at least 30 days before you plant hemp.
  2. Hemp program reviews and approves application.
  3. Sign license agreement and pay license fees.
  4. 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% delta-9-THC by dry weight.
  5. Hemp program inspects grow sites.
  6. Keep hemp program informed about your hemp operation, including contact information changes, crop failures, and anticipated harvest dates.
  7. Notify the hemp program at 25 days before harvest if your crop has not been sampled yet.
  8. An inspector samples your crop and a Certificate of Analysis for THC content is generated by the lab.
  9. Complete a post-harvest report.

How to apply for a license?

There is no longer an application deadline. We ask that you apply 30 days before you intend to plant your crop so that you have a signed license agreement in hand before you plant.

Fees

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 application fee – this fee must be submitted with the application.
  • $500 license fee – this fee is due after approval of the application and must be submitted with the signed licensing agreement. (A separate $500.00 fee is due for both indoor and outdoor licensing agreements)
  • Outdoor growing license
    • $50/acre fee – this fee is due after approval of the application and must be submitted with the signed licensing agreement.
  • Indoor growing license
    • $0.25/square foot - this fee is due after approval of the application and must be submitted with the signed licensing agreement. (multiple growing tiers are additive)

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.

Please note that the fees charged will now cover THC testing for each separate variety at a grow site.

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. Maine does license plant nurseries and some are licensed hemp growers who have seedlings and clones for sale to the public. Maine law permits an individual to grow up to three hemp plants for personal (non-commercial) use.

For hemp to be hemp, its delta-9-THC concentration must not exceed 0.3% on a dry weight basis. While genetics have a role in determining THC expression, many environmental factors can influence it, including plant maturity, temperature, water, soil fertility, and any number of stressors.

Despite hemp’s antiquity as a cultivated plant, hemp as a modern crop has some catching up to do. 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 (see below). 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.

Although some out-of-state sellers are still requiring that growers be licensed in order to receive shipment, this restriction should not apply. Legal hemp and hemp products can move across state and tribal borders and can be shipped through USPS. Some states may require phytosanitary certificates for state-to-state movement of hemp seed and live plants; Maine currently does not.

Maine law requires that hemp be planted using a certified seed source which is defined as a source of hemp seeds that are certified by a third party as producing hemp having a delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol concentration of not more than 0.3% on a dry weight basis. Certification may include a certificate of analysis from a third-party ISO 17025 accredited laboratory that indicates the parent plant seed source tested at or below 0.3% delta-9-tetrahdrocannabinol on a dry weight basis. To comply with the certified seed source requirement 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. 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.

Maine Sources for Hemp Seedlings or Clones

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 25 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% 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

List of Licensed Hemp Growers

Updated: October 6, 2021