As of July 28, 2017, Massachusetts has legalized the cultivation of Hemp with House Bill H.3818 – An Act to ensure safe access to marijuana! MDAR has been designated as the state agency to handle this program and issue the permits.
In early 2014, the Federal Government defined Industrial Hemp as distinct and authorized institutions of higher education or state departments of agriculture in states where hemp is legal to grow hemp for research or agricultural pilot programs.
Twenty-nine (31) states have defined industrial hemp as distinct and removed barriers to its production. These states will be able to take immediate advantage of the industrial hemp research and pilot program provision, Section 7606 of the Farm Bill, and are allowed by the farm bill to grow hemp for academic research and marketing purposes. Kentucky, Vermont and Colorado already have harvested hemp as part of this research.
- Alabama, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington and West Virginia.
Nineteen (19) states are working towards cultivating hemp in accordance with Section 7606 of the Farm Bill. Although not all will be growing this year, states like Washington and North Carolina are working on rules & regulations to make crops possible in 2017.
Fourteen (15) states in 2016 have hemp pilot programs in accordance with section 7606 of the Farm Bill and state law.
- Colorado, Hawaii, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Minnesota, Nebraska, Nevada, New York, North Dakota, Oregon, Tennessee, Vermont, Virginia and West Virginia.
Three (3) states in 2015 licensed or registered farmers to grow hemp under state law.
- Colorado, Oregon, and Vermont
Industrial Hemp has been legalized as of the Ballot Question in Nov 2016; therefore, UMass is unable to grow hemp for research or agricultural pilot programs until MDAR issues a permit under the Farm Bill Provision. We are actively working towards this next milestone.
- Jan 26, 2016 – In Maine, a new law authorizes individuals and businesses to engage in the farming, production, and commerce of hemp in Maine. The new law authorizes individuals and businesses to engage in the farming, production, and commerce of hemp in Maine, and not just planting crops for research purposes, as is the case in other states such as Kentucky.
- June 17th 2016 – Rhode Island House and Senate Pass Industrial Hemp Bill making Massachusetts the only remaining New England state to have not passed legislation.
- July 3rd 2016 – For the first time in 80 years, hemp seeds were planted in Eaton, New York. JD Farms is a private farm participating in an Industrial Hemp Research Pilot Program for the state, under a license awarded to Morrisville State College.
MASSACHUSETTS HEMP IN THE NEWS
Kathryn Hilderbrand, owner of Good Clothing Co. in Mashpee, brought Tim Gunn of “Project Runway” fame to the Statehouse for a meet-and-greet with legislators in support of H.773 to legalize industrial hemp cultivation. From left are Kathryn Hilderbrand, Tim Gunn, Fall River state Rep. Alan Silvia and Rep. Paul Schmid, the chairman of the Joint Committee on Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture.
“What we hear is that it is tricky to grow,” Schmid said. “But we won’t know enough until Massachusetts has a chance to have some farmers try it themselves.
“If it shows some promise for agriculture, let’s do it.” State Rep. Alan Silvia is another supporter of the hemp legislation. He worked with Hilderbrand and Schmid to arrange the reception for Gunn to give the bill a boost. “We have 54 vacant mills in Fall River,” Silvia said. “This is something we want to promote. This means jobs for Fall River.” Hilderbrand agrees. “Our goal is to do a small part in reshoring American manufacturing,” she said. “We want to do it in Fall River.”
Note: Includes video of Tim Gunn advocating for Industrial Hemp
3/29/16 – Some Massachusetts lawmakers are hoping to legalize the growth and production of industrial hemp in the Bay State, saying it’ll be an economic boon to a region of the state with high unemployment.
“This is a crop that we need to grow in Massachusetts,” Walsh, the bill sponsor, said at a gathering that included Gunn and lawmakers like state Sen. Michael Rodrigues, D-Westport and state Reps. Patricia Haddad, D-Somerset; Denise Provost, D-Somerville; Alan Silvia, D-Fall River; Jennifer Benson, D-Lunenberg; and Paul Schmid, D-Westport.