Feds approve Maine’s hemp cultivation program

Federal officials have approved Maine‘s hemp cultivation program to align with the proposed U.S. Department of Agriculture’s rules, which take effect Nov. 1

The approval Wednesday means the state’s Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry will have primary responsibility for oversight over hemp cultivation, under the U.S. Department of Agriculture Domestic Hemp Production Program, the Maine News Center reported.

“Hemp is becoming an important part of Maine’s agriculture sector. Approval of our hemp production plan means Maine’s growers will have certainty about the expectations and guidelines for hemp cultivation for the coming years,” DACF Comminssioner Amanda Beal said in a statement.

Maine’s latest fees on hemp farmers include:

  • $100 application fees.
  • $500 annual licensing fees.
  • An additional $50/acre for outdoor farms, or 25 cents/square foot for indoor grows.
  • Testing fees to be determined by the state.

Federal officials also approved Missouri’s cultivation program Wednesday under the USDA.

Several states chose to operate the 2020 growing season under the 2014 pilot hemp program, the rules for which expire Oct. 31.

Maine’s current production program is regulated under the state’s existing law and officials will need to reconcile any differences between its program and the new rules the USDA is proposing. That’s expected to happen in the 2021 legislative session that starts in January.