On April 30, 2019, the California Department of Food & Agriculture announced that applications to lawfully cultivate hemp pursuant to the state’s industrial hemp law are now available. This follows the Office of Administrative Law (OAL)’s recent adoption of the regulation dealing with industrial hemp registration fees.

Cultivators of hemp must register with their county agricultural commissioner. The registration fee has been set at $900 per county. Some counties in California have moved to ban hemp cultivation, but as of the writing of this blog post most jurisdictions are silent on the topic. Under California’s industrial hemp law, county agricultural commissioners “shall issue a registration [for hemp cultivation] to [an] applicant” if the requirements contained in Food and Agricultural Code §§ 81000 – 81011 are met. Thus, now that the registration fees have been set and the application form has been published by the state, county agricultural commissioners must register hemp cultivators who comply with state law.

This is quite a significant development. As we discussed previously, the passage of the 2018 federal “Farm Bill” redefined “hemp” as parts of the cannabis plant containing 0.3% or less THC, and removed hemp from the Controlled Substances Act. Industrial hemp has many uses, from food to fuel to building materials, detailed in Jack Herer’s seminal work The Emperor Wears No Clothes.

There is a huge market and interest for hemp across the United States, and now residents of the Golden State will finally be able to legally participate in cultivating that market. That being said, finding a way to adequately regulate hemp cultivation in areas where cannabis cultivation is allowed will pose unique challenges. Thankfully, California is a large enough state that there’s ample room for both crops here.

Stay tuned to this page for more updates from CDFA about the California Industrial Hemp Program.

For more information about the 2018 Farm Bill, the FDA’s position regarding CBD and other cannabis-derived products, or other questions related to hemp or cannabis, please contact the Law Offices of Omar Figueroa at (707) 829-0215 or info@omarfigueroa.com to schedule a confidential legal consultation.

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