California Industrial Hemp Program1220 "N" Street, Sacramento, CA 95814 • 916-654-0435 • email@example.com
Frequently Asked Questions
Table of Contents
What is "industrial hemp"?
According to the California Food and Agriculture Code Section 81000 (a)(7):
"Industrial hemp" or “Hemp” means an agricultural product, whether growing or not, that is limited to types of the plant Cannabis sativa L. and any part of that plant, including the seeds of the plant and all derivatives, extracts, the resin extracted from any part of the plant, cannabinoids, isomers, acids, salts, and salts of isomers, with a delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol concentration of no more than 0.3 percent on a dry weight basis.
Industrial hemp is also defined in the California Health and Safety Code Section 11018.5.
What is the difference between industrial hemp and cannabis/marijuana?
Cannabis is defined in California Business and Professions Code (BPC) Section 26001(e). The BPC Section 26001(e) definition explicitly states that cannabis does not include industrial hemp.
For information on the cultivation of medical and adult-use cannabis, contact Department of Cannabis Control.
Is growing industrial hemp legal in California?
Division 24 of the California Food and Agricultural Code provides for the cultivation of industrial hemp by registered growers, hemp breeders, and established agricultural research institutions.
Is industrial hemp federally regulated as a controlled substance?
The Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 (2018 Farm Bill) , effective January 1, 2019, removed hemp from Schedule I of the federal Controlled Substances Act. Thus, hemp is no longer federally regulated as a controlled substance.
What are the current federal laws and regulations regarding industrial hemp?
The Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 (2018 Farm Bill) was signed into law by the President on December 20, 2018. The U.S. Domestic Hemp Production Program was established by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) through an interim final rule on October 31, 2019 and further amended through a final rule on January 15, 2021. The final rule provides the requirements for State and Tribal regulatory plans submitted to USDA for review and approval.
Additional information regarding pending federal legislation is available on the Law Library of Congress website.
Does California have a state regulatory plan approved by U.S. Department of Agriculture?
CDFA has revised and submitted the proposed state regulatory plan to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) for review and approval on December 20, 2021. USDA has approved California’s state regulatory plan for hemp production, effective January 1, 2022.
Are California hemp cultivators subject to the cultivation requirements outlined in the federal final rule?
According the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Hemp webpage, hemp growers are not subject to the cultivation requirements outlined in the federal final rule if a state has an approved regulatory plan or is in the process of developing a regulatory plan. Hemp cultivators in states that do not have a pending or approved regulatory plan may apply for a USDA hemp production license. However, California’s state regulatory plan for hemp production has been approved by USDA, effective January 1, 2022. For information regarding federal requirements for hemp producers, visit USDA Hemp webpage.
Are hemp cultivators licensed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture required to follow California state laws and regulations?
Regardless of any federal requirements, all hemp cultivators in California must comply with existing state laws and regulations as well as any local restrictions that may apply.
Are there any pending changes to California law regarding industrial hemp?
For a complete list of all proposed state legislation and additional information regarding pending state legislation is available on the California Legislative Information website.
How can I receive updates regarding industrial hemp regulation?
You can sign up to receive e-mail updates from CDFA regarding industrial hemp by visiting CDFA’s subscription webpage, or by sending a blank e-mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Can I import industrial hemp seeds/plants from another state?
California law does not currently have any restrictions specific to the importation of industrial hemp seeds/plants into California.
Industrial hemp seeds/plants imported into the state must meet all plant pest quarantines and may be subject to an agricultural inspection for plant pests. For more information regarding plant pest quarantines that may apply to industrial hemp seeds/plants, contact CDFA’s Pest Exclusion Branch.
Can I import industrial hemp seeds/plants from outside of the U.S.?
The international importation of seeds and plants is restricted under federal law. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has published requirements for the international importation of hemp seed. For information regarding the international importation of hemp seeds and/or plants, contact the USDA.
Will CDFA import industrial hemp seeds or plants?
No. CDFA does not import or distribute seeds or planting materials for any crops, regardless of whether the imported materials are for research or commercial purposes.
Can I bring unprocessed hemp into California?
California law does not currently have any restrictions specific to the importation of unprocessed hemp material into California. Unprocessed hemp material imported into the state must meet all plant pest quarantines and may be subject to an agricultural inspection for plant pests. For more information regarding plant pest quarantines that may apply to unprocessed hemp material, contact CDFA’s Pest Exclusion Branch.
Can I bring processed hemp products into California?
Many processed hemp materials may move freely in accordance with federal law. For information on the restrictions and requirements that may apply to specific hemp products, contact the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
How do I obtain an export certificate to meet importing requirements for another state or country?
For information on federal and state export certificates, contact CDFA’s Pest Exclusion Branch.
What are the requirements for transporting hemp in vehicles?
California Food and Agricultural Code Section 81006(e)(11) requires registrants to provide an original copy of the laboratory test report to each person transporting hemp including hemp fiber, oil, cake, seed, or any component of the seed.
Additionally, the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) and law enforcement may have additional requirements that may apply to transporting hemp. For information regarding any additional requirements that may apply to any proposed industrial hemp transportation, contact the applicable city, county and/or state officials, including the California Highway Patrol and the DMV.
Can I mail hemp and hemp-related products through U.S. Postal Service?
The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) has published a bulletin to answer questions related to mailing hemp and hemp-related products through the USPS. For more information regarding mailing hemp and hemp-related products through the USPS, contact the USPS.
Can I grow industrial hemp in California?
California Food and Agricultural Code Sections 81003(a)(1), 81004(a)(1), and 81004.5(a)(1) require all growers, breeders, and established agricultural research institutions of industrial hemp to register with the county agricultural commissioner prior to cultivation. Registration procedures are outlined in Sections 4901 in Title 3 of the California Code of Regulations and applications are available on CDFA’s Industrial Hemp Program webpage.
For information regarding any additional local restrictions that may apply to any proposed industrial hemp activities, contact the applicable county and/or city officials, including the county agricultural commissioner's office.
How do I register with the state/county to grow industrial hemp?
There is no state registration to grow industrial hemp; only county registration is required to grow industrial hemp under state law. Registration applications are available on CDFA’s Industrial Hemp Program webpage.
How much is the registration and renewal fee?
CDFA has adopted Section 4900 in Title 3 of the California Code of Regulations pertaining to Industrial Hemp Cultivation Registration Fees.
The annual registration fee is $900.00 (nine hundred dollars) when registering as a grower of industrial hemp or hemp breeder. In accordance with California Food and Agricultural Code (FAC) Section 81005(c), a county board of supervisors may also establish a fee to cover the actual costs of the commissioner and the county of implementing, administering, and enforcing the provisions of FAC Division 24. For information on local fees for industrial hemp cultivation, please contact the county agricultural commissioner’s office.
When does registration expire?
Registration is valid for one year from date of issuance. Registrants must submit a new application at least 30 calendar days prior to the expiration of registration to renew their registration and should register prior to the registration expiration if they wish to continue to grow industrial hemp after the one year expires.
What types of registration are available?
California Food and Agricultural Code (FAC) Section 81003 provides for the registration of growers of industrial hemp. FAC Section 81004 provides for the registration of hemp breeders. FAC Section 81004.5 provides for the registration of established research institutions for the cultivation of hemp for agricultural and academic research.
What are the eligibility requirements for registration?
FAC Section 81012 restricts any registered grower, hemp breeder, and established agricultural research institutions found committing three negligent violations in a five-year time period from registration for a period of five years beginning on the date of the finding of the third violation.
FAC Section 81013 restricts any person convicted of a felony relating to a controlled substance under state or federal law from registration for a period of 10 years following the date of the conviction.
FAC Section 81014 restricts any person that materially falsifies any information contained in an application or registration from registration.
Is a list of current registrants available?
What are the laws and regulations regarding the production of industrial hemp in California?
California's industrial hemp law can be found in Division 24 of the California Food and Agricultural Code.
CDFA has adopted Section 4900 in Title 3 of the California Code of Regulations pertaining to Industrial Hemp Cultivation Registration Fees, and Section 4920 and Section 4921 pertaining to the list of approved cultivars.
CDFA has readopted Sections 4901 and 4902 in Title 3 of the California Code of Regulations pertaining to industrial hemp registration application and eligibility requirements, which took effect on September 21, 2021.
CDFA has adopted Sections 4930 , 4935 , 4940, 4941, 4942, 4943, 4944, 4945, 4946, 4950, and 4950.1 in Title 3 of the California Code of Regulations (CCR) pertaining to industrial hemp planting, sampling and testing for THC concentration, harvest, and destruction. The regulations took effect on January 11, 2021. 3 CCR Sections 4940, 4944, and 4946 were further amended pertaining to the timeframes for harvest, sampling, and laboratory notification. The amended regulations took effect on April 9, 2021.
In order to implement the California state regulatory plan for hemp production, CDFA will propose amendments to the current regulations.
Further regulations pertaining to industrial hemp cultivation will be developed with consideration of recommendations from the Industrial Hemp Advisory Board and promulgated through the regular rulemaking process in accordance with the California Administrative Procedure Act. CDFA will notify the public via our electronic mailing list as regulations are posted and available for public comment.
For more information regarding the regular rulemaking process, visit the Office of Administrative Law's website.
What are the local requirements regarding the production of industrial hemp?
For information regarding any additional local restrictions that may apply to any proposed industrial hemp activities, contact the applicable county and/or city officials, including the county agricultural commissioner's office.
Does California law allow cultivation of industrial hemp for personal use like the Adult Use of Marijuana Act allows for cultivation of cannabis for personal use?
California law does not provide for cultivation of industrial hemp for personal use like the Adult Use of Marijuana Act provides for cannabis.
Can I grow hemp and cannabis on the same premises?
Section 81006(c) of the California Food and Agricultural Code prohibits industrial hemp cultivation on premises licensed by CDFA to cultivate or process cannabis.
According to the California Business and Professions Code Section 26001(aq):
“Premises” means the designated structure or structures and land specified in the application that is owned, leased, or otherwise held under the control of the applicant or licensee where the commercial cannabis activity will be or is conducted. The premises shall be a contiguous area and shall only be occupied by one licensee.
Whom do I contact for information about the cultivation of other forms of cannabis?
Licensing and regulation for the cultivation of medical and adult-use cannabis is overseen by Department of Cannabis Control (DCC). For more information regarding cultivating forms of cannabis other than industrial hemp, contact DCC.
What cultivars or varieties of industrial hemp may I grow?
California Food and Agricultural Code (FAC) Section 81002 requires registered growers to only grow varieties of industrial hemp on the list of approved seed cultivars. The current list of approved cultivars is available in Section 4920 in Title 3 of the California Code of Regulations and lists cultivars in FAC Section 81002(b).
Where can I find more information about seed certification?
How do I grow industrial hemp?
Other than practices and reporting mandated by Division 24 of the California Food and Agricultural Code, CDFA does not provide guidelines or recommendations for cultivating industrial hemp.
What pesticides can I use on industrial hemp?
The California Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) is responsible for providing statewide guidance on the use of pesticides in the cultivation of all agricultural crops, including industrial hemp. DPR has recently updated their webpage with a guidance document that outlines which pesticide products can and cannot be used on hemp. Additionally, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has published a list of approved pesticides that can be used on industrial hemp. For information regarding pesticide use on industrial hemp, contact DPR or EPA.
What are the requirements for water discharges from agricultural operations including the production of industrial hemp?
The California State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) is authorized to regulate water discharges from agricultural operations, including irrigation runoff, flows from tile drains, and storm water runoff. For information regarding requirements on water discharges from agricultural operations, contact SWRCB’s Irrigated Lands Regulatory Program.
Where can I obtain certified industrial hemp seed?
CDFA does not maintain a list of certified sellers of industrial hemp seed. For information on the certification of industrial hemp seed in California, contact the California Crop Improvement Association.
What are the sampling and testing requirements for industrial hemp cultivation?
California Food and Agricultural Code Section 81006(e) requires registrants, except when industrial hemp is grown by registered established agricultural research institution and tested in accordance with an approved research plan or by a registered hemp breeder and tested in accordance with an approved variety development plan, to obtain a laboratory test report indicating the percentage concentration of THC prior to harvest.
Sampling must be requested and samples must be collected in accordance with the procedures outlined in Sections 4940 and 4941 in Title 3 of the California Code of Regulations (CCR). The samples collected must be tested in accordance with the testing procedures outlined in 3 CCR Sections 4942 through 4944.
How is the percentage concentration of THC for industrial hemp calculated?
THC concentration or the percentage concentration of THC means the post-decarboxylated value of the percentage of delta-9 THC on a dry weight basis to the nearest thousand, or three decimal places. The percentage concentration of THC may be measured by using either:
- a suitable analytical instrumentation described in Section 4942(b) that results in the decarboxylation of THC-acid to delta-9 THC, or
- a calculated value using a conversion formula of the percentage concentration of delta-9 THC plus eighty-seven and seven tenths (87.7) percent of the percentage concentration of THC-acid when a suitable analytical instrumentation described in Section 4942(b) does not result in the decarboxylation of THC-acid to delta-9 THC.
How is a PASS/FAIL determined on the laboratory test report?
Laboratory test reports shall be labeled “PASSED AS CALIFORNIA INDUSTRIAL HEMP” and “FAILED AS CALIFORNIA INDUSTRIAL HEMP” based on the acceptable hemp THC level in accordance with Section 4944(b)(17) in Title 3 of the California Code of Regulations (CCR).
According to CCR 4942(d), the acceptable hemp THC level is defined as:
a THC concentration that falls within the distribution or range that includes three-tenths of one percent or less that is produced when the measurement of uncertainty is applied to the reported THC concentration. For example, if the reported THC concentration of a sample is 0.35% and the measurement of uncertainty is ± 0.06%, the measured THC concentration would range from 0.29% to 0.41%. Because 0.3% is within the distribution or range, the sample is within the acceptable hemp THC level.
What happens if my industrial hemp crop tests over the acceptable hemp THC level?
Registrants that receive a failed laboratory test report indicating a percentage concentration of THC that is greater than the acceptable hemp THC level will not be able to harvest.
If the initial laboratory test report indicates a percentage concentration of THC that is greater than the acceptable hemp THC level but does not exceed one percent, the registrant may request one additional retest in accordance with Section 4945 in Title 3 of the California Code of Regulations.
Can my industrial hemp crop be labeled and/or sold as organic?
CDFA's State Organic Program enforces the federal Organic Foods Production Act of 1990 and the California Organic Food and Farming Act of 2016. For information regarding labeling and/or selling industrial hemp as organic, contact CDFA's State Organic Program.
What is the Industrial Hemp Advisory Board?
California Food and Agricultural Code (FAC) Section 81001 establishes an Industrial Hemp Advisory Board to advise CDFA and make recommendations pertaining to the cultivation of industrial hemp, including industrial hemp seed law and regulations, annual budgets, and the setting of an assessment rate. FAC Section 81001 also outlines the membership and administration of the Board.
When is the next Industrial Hemp Advisory Board meeting?
In accordance with the Bagley-Keene Open Meeting Act, a meeting notice for any board meetings will be posted on our meeting information webpage at least 10 days prior to the meeting, and, at the time of posting, the notice will also be sent out to interested parties via our electronic mailing list.
Can I participate in the Industrial Hemp Advisory Board meetings?
All meetings of the Industrial Hemp Advisory Board are open to the public. Meeting notices are posted on the meeting information webpage, and all interested parties are encouraged to attend and participate.
Who is on the Industrial Hemp Advisory Board?
A current list of members of the Industrial Hemp Advisory Board, including terms of office, is available here:
Are there any vacancies on the Industrial Hemp Advisory Board?
There are currently 2 vacancies on the Industrial Hemp Advisory Board. Instructions to apply will be available soon.
Where can I find more information on past Industrial Hemp Advisory Board meetings?
Information on past meetings, including minutes and recordings, is available on the meeting information webpage.
What are the laws and regulations regarding the handling, manufacturing, processing, and selling of industrial hemp and hemp farm products?
Industrial hemp handlers, manufacturers and processors will be subject to Division 20 of the California Food and Agricultural Code, which governs processors, storers, dealers, and distributors of agricultural products. The Code sections most relevant to hemp at this time include the following:
Section 55521 requires that any person that acts as a processor or a cash buying processor of industrial hemp obtain a license prior to engaging in such acts.
Pursuant to Section 55407:
"Processor" means any person that is engaged in the business of processing or manufacturing any farm product, that solicits, buys, contracts to buy, or otherwise takes title to, or possession or control of, any farm product from the producer of the farm product for the purpose of processing or manufacturing it and selling, reselling, or redelivering it in any dried, canned, extracted, fermented, distilled, frozen, eviscerated, or other preserved or processed form. It does not, however, include any retail merchant that has a fixed or established place of business in this state and does not sell at wholesale any farm product which is processed or manufactured by him.
Pursuant to Section 55402.5:
"Cash buying processor" means any person who is engaged in the business of processing or manufacturing any farm product; who obtains from the producer of any farm product, title to, or possession or control of the farm product; and who buys or agrees to buy any farm product, by cash payment of the full agreed price of such product to the producer at the time of obtaining possession or control or at the time of contracting for title to, or possession or control of any farm product.
Section 56181 requires that any person engaged in the business of buying, receiving on consignment, soliciting for sale on commission, or negotiating the sale of industrial hemp from a licensee or producer for resale obtain a license. This includes:
- brokers that negotiate the purchase or sale of any farm product
- cash buyers that buy any farm product from a licensee or a producer
- commission merchants that accept in trust, receives on consignment, sells on commission, handles as an agent or co-signor any farm product from a licensee or producer, and
- dealers that obtain title to, or possession, control, or delivery of, any farm product, from a licensee or producer.
The CDFA’s Market Enforcement Branch (MEB) is tasked with the licensing, inspection, and enforcement of California state law and regulations for the handling, manufacturing, processing, and selling of hemp farm products for the purpose of resale or processing and will begin accepting applications for licenses on January 1, 2021.
For more information regarding MEB, please visit: https://www.cdfa.ca.gov/mkt/meb/
Can I process, manufacture, or sell industrial hemp or hemp products?
We recommend you contact your local public health official for more information on general rules and restrictions that may apply to any products you intend to manufacture or sell.
California Department of Public Health (CDPH)'s Food and Drug Branch has established the Industrial Hemp Compliance Program (IHCP) for the implementation of Assembly Bill 45 regarding industrial hemp products. CDPH's IHCP has published answers to frequently asked questions related to processing, manufacturing, and selling industrial hemp or hemp products. For more information on rules and restrictions that may apply to any products you intend to manufacture or sell, contact CDPH’s , please visit CDPH’s website at IHCP or submit questions to email@example.com.
Can hemp products be sold at certified farmers' markets?
The California Farmers' Market (CFM) Program provides opportunities for certified producers to directly market their agricultural products at certified farmers' markets throughout the State. The CFM has published answers to frequently asked questions related to the sale of hemp at certified farmer’s markets. For information regarding selling products at certified farmers' markets, contact CDFA's CFM Program.
Can I sell hemp products in licensed cannabis retail stores?
The Department of Cannabis Control (DCC) is responsible for regulating and licensing commercial cannabis businesses. At this time, industrial hemp products cannot be sold in cannabis retail stores. For more information, contact DCC.
Can I use animal feed or livestock drug products containing hemp-derived ingredients?
CDFA’s Feed, Fertilizer and Livestock Drugs Regulatory Services Branch (FFLDRS) is responsible for the enforcement of California state law and regulations pertinent to the manufacturing, distribution, labeling, and use of commercial livestock feed and livestock drugs. The FFLDRS has published a notice related to commercial feed or livestock drug products containing hemp-derived ingredients. For more information regarding commercial feed and livestock drugs, contact CDFA’s FFLDRS.