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Hemp Licensing

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. A hearing for this bill, “An Act To Improve the Laws Governing Hemp by Bringing Them into Compliance with Federal Law”, is scheduled for February 11, 2021 at 10 am. Due to Covid-19, proceedings are not in-person but are available online. Anyone interested in submitting testimony can do so electronically.

New Hemp & Pesticides Best Management Practices Document

January 21, 2021 – Guidance on Best Management Practices for Plant Health, Pest Prevention and Pest Management in Maine Hemp Cultivation (PDF) – This document is intended to provide additional guidance to growers of hemp to support compliance with Maine’s pesticide regulations.

2021 Agricultural Trades Show

Access the 2021 Ag Trades Show – The 2021 Ag Trades Show is complete – but you can still access the Whova Event App through June 2021! Login to the Whova App. If you don’t already have a Whova login, use your email address and, if prompted, you can use the access code: MaineAgShow. The Hemp Program Update session from January 19, 2021 is also available on YouTube.

Hemp Newsletters

  • 2/4/2021 – Hemp Regulatory News
  • 1/10/2021 – Upcoming Virtual Hemp Programs
  • 12/11/2020 – Metals in Hemp-Avoiding Contamination
  • 8/11/2020 – Insect Pests on Hemp
  • 6/10/2020 – News for Hemp Growers
  • 5/15/2020 – Planting Reports Due Soon After Planting
  • 4/16/2020 – Hemp Licensing Reminder

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.

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.
  • Download Hemp License Applications:
    • 2021 Outdoor Hemp Application (PDF)
    • 2021 Indoor Hemp Application (PDF)
  • Those wishing to sell hemp seedlings/clones (plants under 12 inches tall and not flowering) need to apply for a License to Sell Nursery Stock.

Explanation of 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.

Obtaining seed, seedlings and 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.

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 15 days prior to the anticipated harvest date, the licensee will notify the Department of intent to harvest.

All hemp plants from all varieties and licensed growing areas will be randomly sampled 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.

Other Hemp Resources

  • Best Management Practices for Plant Health, Pest Prevention and Pest Management in Maine Hemp Cultivation (PDF)
  • Maine Registered Pesticide Products Labeled for Use on Hemp (XLSX)
  • Hemp in North America: Production, Politics and Potential (PDF) – From the journal Agronomy
  • Growing Hemp in Ontario – Factsheet on growing, harvesting and processing hemp
  • Purdue University Hemp Project – Information on biology, production and uses of hemp
  • Penn State Hemp Regulations and Outlook for 2020 Webinar
  • Penn State Industrial Hemp CBD Production Budget
  • Hemp Insect Factsheets, Colorado State University
  • Industrial Hemp Production 101: Considerations for Hemp Prodcution – Michigan State University
  • Presentations from Maine Board of Pesticides Control 2019 Hemp Meeting:
    • Maine’s Hemp Program (PDF), Gary Fish, State Horticulturist
    • Pesticides Risk and Hemp (PDF), Pam Bryer, Pesticides Toxicologist
    • Agronomics of CBD Hemp Production (PDF), John Jemison, Extension Professor, Soil and Water Ecology
    • Hemp and Maine Registered Pesticides (PDF), Mary Tomlinson, Maine Board of Pesticides
    • Pesticide Rules & Regulations, Record Keeping and BMPs (PDF), John Pietroski, Maine Board of Pesticides Control
    • Hemp Insects and What to Do About Them (PDF), Kathy Murray, Entomologist

Frequently Asked Questions

List of Licensed Hemp Seedling Growers

  • Licensed Hemp Seedling Growers in Maine (PDF) – Updated May 29, 2020

List of Licensed Hemp Growers

Below is a list of licensed growers of hemp in Maine (as of October 16, 2020)

Is CBD oil legal in Maine?

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Contents

  1. What is CBD?
  2. Why is CBD sometimes illegal?
  3. Maine CBD laws
  4. Where to buy CBD in Maine
  5. How to read CBD labels and packaging

Hemp-derived CBD and cannabis-derived CBD are both legal in Maine. CBD can also be used as an additive in food or beverages.

Maine passed its first cannabis laws in 1999 when it gave patients the legal right to grow medical marijuana plants. Recreational cannabis was legalized in 2016 under the Marijuana Legalization Act, but a moratorium prohibited the sale of recreational cannabis. Recent legislation has since created a framework, and recreational dispensaries are projected to open in early 2020.

At present, only registered patients can purchase cannabis products, such as cannabis-derived CBD, from state dispensaries.

What is CBD?

CBD is a non-intoxicating cannabinoid found in cannabis and the second-most prominent in the plant after THC, which is mostly responsible for producing an intoxicating high. CBD can be sourced either from marijuana or hemp plants and has a wide range of potential therapeutic benefits.

CBD stands for cannabidiol, a non-intoxicating substance found in cannabis. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps

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To date, researchers have identified a number of potential applications linked to CBD, including anti-inflammatory, analgesic, anti-anxiety, and anti-seizure properties. Further, the chemical has shown promise in treating numerous health conditions, including seizure disorders, mood disorders such as depression, anxiety, and psychosis, chronic pain, and many more.

Most raw cannabis strains on the market today contain small amounts of CBD, especially compared with THC. But since the cannabinoid has gained considerable attention for its wide range of purported therapeutic benefits, more high-CBD strains have recently been cultivated.

Why is CBD sometimes illegal?

All types of cannabis, including hemp strains that don’t produce enough THC to cause intoxication, were considered illegal under the Federal Controlled Substances Act of 1970. The law categorized all cannabis as Schedule 1, which defined the plant as a highly addictive substance with a high potential for abuse and no accepted medical use.

The 2018 Farm Bill re-classified hemp as an agricultural commodity and made its cultivation federally legal. Further, the act removed some forms of cannabis from Schedule 1 status by creating a legal distinction between hemp and marijuana. Hemp is cannabis with less than 0.3% THC, and marijuana refers to cannabis with more than 0.3% THC. This distinction in federal law effectively legalized CBD that is derived from cannabis with less than 0.3% THC, as long as it has been cultivated according to federal and state regulations.

The 2018 Farm Bill legislation does not mean that CBD derived from hemp is universally legal throughout the United States. According to the Farm Bill, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has the power to regulate CBD product labeling, including therapeutic claims and the use of CBD as a food additive.

The FDA has declared that hemp-derived CBD may not legally be added to food and beverages, or marketed as a dietary supplement. Although the organization has begun to re-evaluate some of its stances on legal CBD products, the FDA has not revised its regulations. The agency also has been strict in its position against any labeling that could be perceived as a medical claim about CBD.

In addition to the federal regulation of CBD, the Farm Bill also gave states the option to regulate and prohibit the cultivation and commerce of CBD. States may regulate CBD in food, beverages, dietary supplements, and cosmetic products independently, even before the FDA finalizes its policies. Maine has created its own regulations with respect to the use of CBD in food and food products.

Maine CBD laws

The cultivation of industrial hemp was legalized in Maine in 2009 under LD1159. In February 2019, the state passed additional legislation, LD 630, providing further regulations for the licensing of industrial hemp and the sale of hemp-derived CBD.

LD 630 aligns with the federal definition of hemp as containing 0.3% concentration of THC or less. According to the law, any hemp cultivated, manufactured, or sold within the state must be licensed with the Department of Agriculture, Conservation, and Forestry (DACF). The legislation also explicitly states that foods and food products containing hemp or CBD can be sold and marketed for non-pharmaceutical purposes. These products cannot make therapeutic claims, however, unless approved by federal law.

CBD sold in Maine must meet labeling standards.

  • All labels must include the ingredients, the amount by weight, and the name, address, and zip code of the manufacturer.
  • Labels must not include any health claims, including that hemp, CBD, or the product can diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease, injury, or condition.
  • If a food product containing CBD is sold in a restaurant, the menu must clearly state the inclusion of CBD and the weight by item.

Cannabis was legalized in 1999 for medical purposes under An Act to Establish the Maine Medical Marijuana Act. Cannabis was legalized for adult use in 2016 under the Marijuana Legalization Act.

Similar to many states with recreational cannabis legislation, the commerce of recreational cannabis was placed under moratorium to allow time to develop regulations. In June 2019, Gov. Janet Mills signed LD 719 that sets up a framework for the sale of adult-use marijuana, which should become available for retail in early 2020. Until then, CBD derived from cannabis is only available to purchase from state-licensed dispensaries by patients with a medical marijuana card.

Licensing requirements for CBD

Hemp licensing in Maine is handled by the Department of Agriculture, Conservation, and Forestry. Applicants must complete their license application between January 1 and April 1 of the year they wish to grow hemp. Applicants must also submit a $100 application fee with their application. If the application is approved, licensees are also responsible for a $500 licensing fee and an additional fee of $50 per acre. Applicants must provide detailed information regarding the boundaries and dimensions of proposed growing sites.

Under Maine law, all industrial hemp must be planted using a certified seed source. These sources must be certified by the Association of Seed Certifying Agencies or another approved standard. Seeds must also come from plants that were tested during the active growing season and found to produce industrial hemp with 0.3% THC content or less.

All hemp licensees must also submit crop samples for testing. The inspection, sampling, or testing of hemp crops can happen at any time the department deems necessary (although licensees are notified prior to inspection). Licensees must allow full and unrestricted access to the crop, and all plants will be tested for THC content. If any crops test above the THC limit of 0.3% percent, they must be destroyed.

To meet federal legal criteria, CBD oil must contain no more than 0.3 percent THC. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps

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Currently, all hemp in the state of Maine must be grown outdoors, although the state is currently working on regulations surrounding the cultivation of indoor hemp.

Maine CBD possession limits

There are no possession limits for hemp-derived CBD, CBD oil, or other CBD products.

Although there are no possession limits specified for CBD derived from cannabis, there are limits for cannabis possession. Individuals can possess up to 2.5 ounces. For those found with quantities in excess of this limit, Maine adheres to a tiered system of penalties.

Where to buy CBD in Maine

Hemp-derived CBD products, including CBD oil, can be found in a variety of retailers in Maine. Because the state allows CBD to be used as a food or food additive, grocery stores, restaurants, and other food-centric retail stores also sell CBD products.

Hemp-derived CBD products, including CBD oil, can be found in a variety of retailers in Maine. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps

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In addition, you can also shop for CBD online and find verified CBD brands on Weedmaps. It’s vital to do your research and ensure you’re purchasing CBD oil or other CBD products from a reputable source — whether that’s an online retailer or a brick and mortar location.

Reputable brands will generally provide you with essential product details, including the form of the CBD (such as oil, capsules, topicals, tinctures, etc.), the quantity of CBD the product contains, other chemicals or ingredients present in the product, and more.

Cannabis-derived CBD can only be purchased from a state dispensary with a medical marijuana card.

How to read CBD labels and packaging

The 2018 Farm Bill shifted the oversight of hemp and hemp-derived products from the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The FDA does not presently allow CBD-infused food, drinks, or dietary supplements to be sold, and hasn’t yet provided regulations for hemp-derived CBD products.

Still, the agency warns that regulations in flux still require companies to make legitimate claims on their labels. Buyers should nonetheless approach CBD products with caution. A CBD product should clearly state what kind of CBD is used.

Full-spectrum CBD oil means the extract contains cannabis-derived terpenes and trace amounts of cannabinoids such as THC. Broad-spectrum also includes other cannabis compounds but has had THC removed during the processing phase. CBD isolate is a pure crystalline powder containing only CBD.

As mentioned, Maine has its own labeling regulations for CBD products. However, most reputable CBD producers generally include the following information on their CBD product labels:

  • Amount of active CBD per serving.
  • Supplement Fact panel, including other ingredients.
  • Net weight.
  • Manufacturer or distributor name.
  • Suggested use.
  • Full-spectrum, broad-spectrum, or isolate.
  • Batch or date code.

Is CBD oil legal in Maine? Copy article link to clipboard. Link copied to clipboard. Contents What is CBD? Why is CBD sometimes illegal? Maine CBD laws Where to buy