Maine Accepting Applications For 2018 Industrial Hemp Season

Industrial hemp in Maine, USA
Image: Valyxyz

In the U.S. state of Maine, applications are now being accepted by the Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry for the 2018 industrial hemp growing season – it’s third since the state again allowed cultivation.

The costs associated with licensing are a $100 application fee, a $500 license fee and an additional $50 per acre fee.

In Maine, industrial hemp is classified as any variety of Cannabis sativa L. with a THC concentration not exceeding 0.3% on a dry weight basis. All licensed industrial hemp growing areas are subject to sampling, and crops testing above  0.3% tetrahydrocannabinol must be destroyed in a prescribed manner – with the cost of destruction borne by the licensee.

Laws in the state require industrial hemp be planted using a certified seed source. Originally, seed could only come from certified Canadian producers, but any certified seed source is now acceptable. However, Federal DEA restrictions still make it difficult for farmers to import seeds.

While the DEA issues permits to state departments of agriculture for importing seeds, the permit only applies to seed being used for research purposes – and Maine’s program allows planting for any purpose.  The Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry says it has no intention of applying for a DEA permit at this point in time.

Laws again allowing the cultivation of industrial hemp were originally passed in 2009, but it wasn’t until 2016 that growing the crop began. Last year’s growing season was rather lacklustre, partly due to the seed sourcing situation, but this year the amount of land under cultivation is expected to grow.

A Canadian company has already signalled its intent to expand industrial hemp operations in Maine. A couple of weeks ago, Future Farm Technologies Inc. announced it had signed a lease agreement for 100-acres in Maine, close to doubling its existing footprint in the state. Future Farm Technologies says it has an option to lease up to an additional 1,000-acres. Hemp grown by Future Farm will be used for cannabidiol extraction.

Applications for the 2018 growing season must be lodged by April 1, 2018.