When recreational marijuana was legalized via Massachusetts voters in 2016, so was industrial hemp. The Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources says that interested farmers need to obtain a license before they can start cultivating.
The department, according to the Commissioner of Agricultural Resources John Lebeaux, plans to approve or deny applications within days of submission, Mass Live reports. The spring planting season in Massachusetts starts in May, so for those that want to start an outdoor cultivation operation – time is of the essence to get applications in. Those wishing to cultivate indoors, such as in a greenhouse, can grow at any time following application approval.
The license application fee for processors and cultivators is $100. The annual fee to continue that license is $300. If someone wishes to be both a processor and a cultivator, the combined license fee is $500 annually.
Processors are classified as those that extract CBD from the hemp plants or use the plant to produce fabric, edibles or building materials, and so on.
The policy was just published on April 30, but some 100-plus inquiries have already come in.
The benefit of growing hemp in Massachusetts is that there are no restrictions on where it can be grown. Wherever a farmer plants his or her crop, they can also grow hemp.
Requirements for security include:
- Signage at the entry of the field locations stating that an industrial hemp license is n place.
- State and local enforcement must be informed of the crop’s location
LeBeaux said, “One who were to illegally steal hemp plants because they thought they could get high from it are going to be extremely dangerous.”
Regular inspection will take place on all hemp cultivation locations. The inspections will include testing for THC concentration to ensure that they stay below 0.3-percent. Any plant containing over that amount must be destroyed.
Pesticide use on hemp will also be limited to ensure that they are safe.
Hemp farmers are also required to comply with the same energy efficiency standards laid out by the Cannabis Control Commission.