Updated: Jul 1, 2020
This post is not legal advice
The passage of the 2014 Farm Bill allows for the cultivating industrial hemp only in states that have developed a pilot program for a college, university, or another state department of agriculture to cultivate industrial hemp for research purposes (§ 5940). Since the 2014 Farm Bill’s passage, many states have jumped on board and begun to develop pilot programs to study industrial hemp production (NCSL, 2016). The country has not had industrial hemp production since the 1950s, and information is needed before changing federal and state laws to allow industrial hemp production.
Current Status in Maryland
In 2016, the General Assembly authorized the Maryland Department of Agriculture (MDA) to develop a pilot research program allowing either MDA or an institution of higher education to grow industrial hemp for agricultural research or academic research purposes (§ 14-101). Sites used to cultivate industrial hemp for agricultural or academic research purposes will be registered with MDA. This legislation will go into effect Oct. 1, 2016, and MDA is currently working on registration regulations to implement this new law.
What Does This Mean For You?
Currently, unless you qualify as an institution of higher learning, it is illegal to possess or grow industrial hemp. Once MDA’s registration regulations are completed, cultivation will be limited to research by either MDA or an institution of higher learning. At this point, we will have to wait until MDA completes the regulation process.
7 U.S.C.A. § 5940 (West 2016).
Md. Code Ann., Agric. § 14-101 (West 2016).
National Conference of State Legislatures, State Industrial Hemp Statutes (Aug. 19, 2016) internet site: http://www.ncsl.org/research/agriculture-and-rural-development/state-industrial-hemp-statutes.aspx# (last visited Sept. 27, 2016).