Minnesota hemp growers and processors need to apply for a license from the Minnesota Department of Agriculture for the 2021 growing season by April 30, 2021. Hemp growers and processors have to apply for a license every year. It this is the first year you also have to include fingerprints and pass a criminal background check. Applications can be found online at: www.mda.state.mn/industrialhemp.

This is the sixth year that industrial hemp can be grown legally in Minnesota. In 2020 there were 542 people that had a license to process or grow industrial hemp. we had over 5,800 grown in Minnesota plus 1.46 million square feet grown indoors. It was the Federal 2018 Farm Bill that legalized industrial hemp as an agricultural commodity.

Growing industrial hemp is very regulated because marijuana and industrial hemp are both types of the same plant, Cannabis sativa. The difference is the level of the psychoactive compound tetrahydrocannabinol or THC. Industrial hemp is less than .3 percent THC while any over that level is considered marijuana. The plants look the same, that is why industrial hemp fields have signs along the road so someone does not stop and help themselves to what they think is marijuana!

During the growing season and at harvest the Minnesota Department of Agriculture inspects and collects samples to make sure it is hemp and not marijuana. In the picture is a plot of industrial hemp growing in a plot at Farmfest a couple years ago.

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