Industrial Hemp Pilot Program begins accepting applications

News Release, Maryland Department of Agriculture

ANNAPOLIS, MD – The Maryland Department of Agriculture is now accepting applications for its industrial hemp pilot program. The program is the result of 2018’s Maryland House Bill 698, and will allow farmers to partner with institutions of higher learning to grow industrial hemp for research purposes. Regulations were published in today’s edition of the Maryland Register.

“Industrial hemp presents a new opportunity that could open new markets for our farmers and help us make sure that rural Maryland continues to stay open for business,” said Secretary Joe Bartenfelder. “This will be the first step toward a potentially viable commodity crop and we are excited to move forward with this pilot program.”

Farmers interested in growing industrial hemp will need to partner with an institution of higher learning to develop a research project and a plan for the use and/or destruction of the crop. Applicants will also be required to apply for an FBI criminal background check. Applications are available online.

Industrial hemp and marijuana are different varieties of the same species of plant, Cannabis sativa. Marijuana is cultivated because of its production of the psychoactive plant chemical delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC Industrial hemp is cultivated for fiber, seed and other purposes, and federal and state law requires that the concentration of THC must be less than 0.3% in industrial hemp.

For more information, visit the program’s website or contact mda.hemp@maryland.gov.

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