Changes Ahead for NC Hemp Growers

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Person planting a hemp plant.

Industrial hemp has created a wide range of interest since the North Carolina Pilot Program began in 2015. Since those first growing seasons were undertaken, farmers pursued licensing with the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (NCDA&CS). The NCDA&CS was the sole entity to license anyone that wanted to grow or process industrial hemp in the state. This chapter of North Carolina operating a state program appears to be coming to an end.

At the last meeting of the NC Hemp Commission, on August 5, 2021, it was decided that moving forward, NC will not run a state program through the NCDA&CS. All NC growers will instead operate under the USDA Hemp program and will need to pursue licensure through the USDA. At this time, it is expected that growers licensed through the NCDA&CS will continue to fall under the state program until the end of the year. The NCDA&CS will be contacting current North Carolina licensed growers with more information on this transition. Read the latest NCDA &CS Press Release on industrial hemp.

To continue growing industrial hemp, all North Carolina farmers will need to acquire a license through the USDA Hemp Program. Details on the program and the application form are located on the USDA website. Growers will need to complete an application and submit FBI criminal history reports for all key participants listed on the application. Please visit the  USDA Hemp Program website to learn more.