In 2018, the growing of hemp in Michigan was legalized due to the U.S Farm Bill. Hemp can be classified as Cannabis containing below 0.3% THC, which is the psychoactive ingredient in Cannabis. Hemp is often grown to produce CBD or for grain and fiber. In 2019 growers first began to produce hemp under the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development Program. As we are still in the fairly early phases of the pilot program, there are still many questions about proper licensing and regulations. Many people are unclear about how to get a licence to grow hemp in Michigan.
How do I acquire a license to grow hemp in Michigan?
The first step is to obtain and fill in a hemp grower registration form. The fee to obtain this grower licence is currently $100. The grower registration form asks participants to state information such as their contact details and proposed growing locations. In the acknowledgements section of the form, participants must agree that MDARD can access growing sites for purposes such as testing, sampling and inspection. The licence also requires address changes to be approved by MDARD.
Those who wish to process hemp need to complete a process-handler license form and make a payment of $ 1,350. As with the hemp grower license, all growing locations used for marketing, handling or processing hemp should be declared.
Thirdly, applicants need to complete the Hemp Ag Pilot Program Application. The individual now becomes part of a research agreement with the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development. At this stage, participants also need to successfully pass a background check. As part of the background check, individuals must have no drug-related charges in the last ten years.
What does the Hemp Ag Pilot Program Involve?
When you obtain a licence to grow hemp in Michigan, you also become a researcher by default. The Hemp Ag Pilot program involves agreeing to study the marketing, cultivation or growth of hemp. As a participant in the program, your research is outlined in a research plan provided by MDARD. It is forbidden to interplant another crop with hemp without first obtaining permission. All participants must also comply with the federal Food Drug & Cosmetic Act as part of the agreement.
If you obtain a license as a hemp grower, you are not permitted to employ an individual who was denied a license themselves. When submitting a Hemp Ag Pilot Application, you must include maps which detail your locations for growing, marketing, processing and storing. As part of this program, individuals must agree to produce and submit a report, detailing all research work, at the end of the year.
What are the legal requirements of growing hemp in Michigan?
In Michigan, it is illegal to grow hemp unless you are properly registered with the MDARD Pilot scheme, and as a grower. Those without a process-handling license are not permitted to handle or process hemp. Growers must use the proper signage at their growing locations to mark- off growing areas. Hemp growers under this program must agree to destroy those plants which are found to have illegal pesticides; be located in unregistered areas; or with the improper THC content. As outlined in the Public Act 641, there are many other legal requirements which need to be upheld.
Do I need a Cannabis Lawyer?
Above we have detailed the basic process of obtaining a license to grow hemp in Michigan. However, when it comes to processing and selling hemp, there are several additional legal requirements to adhere to. As an individual or a business, you may be investigated by the authorities, if it is believed that your hemp handling or selling practices are not compliant with the law.
An experienced Cannabis lawyer can help you to approach a project of growing, handling and selling Cannabis legally. This way, you can ensure that you’re not on the wrong side of the law. At Fisher, Fowler & Williams, we have a wealth of experience dealing with the law behind Cannabis and hemp in Michigan. We have represented a number of clients who have been charged in connection with their cannabis or hemp services. We understand the finest details of Cannabis law and we know how to handle things when the going gets tough. There are many legal requirements to consider when it comes to selling and growing hemp and slipping up on just one could land you a lot of trouble.