The 2018 Farm Bill significantly changed federal regulation of the growing of industrial hemp in the U.S. Foremost among those changes, industrial hemp is removed from the federal list of controlled substances, defining hemp as “the plant Cannabis sativa L. and any part of that plant, including the seeds thereof and all derivatives, extracts, cannabinoids, isomers, acids, salts, and salts of isomers, whether growing or not, with a delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol concentration of not more than 0.3 percent on a dry weight basis.”
In addition, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has now established a national licensing system for hemp and adopted federal regulations for hemp licensing. Each state has the option to obtain primary regulatory authority for industrial hemp in that state, pursuant to a USDA-approved plan. The USDA’s Interim Final Rule, adopted November 1, 2019, can be found at https://www.ams.usda.gov/rules-regulations/hemp.
In that New York State has not submitted a plan to USDA, the pathway to grow industrial hemp in New York State remains through participation in New York’s Industrial Hemp Agricultural Research Pilot Program, authorized under the provisions of the 2014 Farm Bill and administered by the Department of Agriculture and Markets. Anyone planning to grow industrial hemp for any purpose in New York must obtain an authorization as a Research Partner before they can undertake their project. The pilot program will terminate on January 1, 2022, pursuant to federal law. Prior to that time, the Department will advise research partners how they will be transitioned to a new licensing program.
Read more in the guidance document below.
Those seeking to grow and cultivate hemp in the Program must apply. If the application is approved, the applicant must execute a Research Partner Agreement, which, among other things, describes the authorized scope of work, establishes the standards for the work, and sets forth the respective duties and obligations of the parties. The steps to applying are:
- The Department reviews the application and notifies the applicant of the decision.
- The Department will send approved applicants a Research Partner Agreement to be signed and notarized by the applicant.
- The applicant will return the signed and notarized Research Partner Agreement to the Department.
- Upon receipt of the signed Research Partner Agreement, the Department will issue and mail to the Research Partner (formerly the applicant) an official Industrial Hemp Research Partner Authorization and the fully executed Research Partner Agreement.
An applicant is not authorized to grow or cultivate industrial hemp until it has received the official Industrial Hemp Research Partner Authorization document from the Department.
Each application and renewal application must include the following:
- A description and map of each location where industrial hemp will be cultivated, by physical address and by GPS coordinates, visually depicting the buildings, structures, and improvements on the premises and identifying their use, and describing the relevant activities conducted at the location
- A detailed research plan and summary of the issues and matters that the applicant intends to study in conjunction with growing or cultivating of industrial hemp
- A marketing plan
- A seed/propagule acquisition plan
- Statement of relevant experience of the individual responsible for the research project
- A nonrefundable $500 application fee.
An authorization to conduct research in this Department pilot program is not a right. The decision to grant such an authorization is at the sole discretion of the Department based upon, among other things, its needs or interests, the evaluation of the proposed project,
and the qualifications and experience of the applicant. Disqualifying factors may include but are not limited to:
- An incorrect or incomplete application
- Poor research design
- Lack of experience or qualification to undertake the proposed project
- Recent drug-related felony convictions of researchers
- Proposing to use a growing or processing location already registered by an existing Research Partner
- Inability of the Department to adequately supervise or regulate the proposed project
- The proposed undertaking of medical research
This document serves as a sample Research Partner Agreement that industrial hemp growers will receive if approved to join the pilot program.
File an Amendment Form
Research partners can submit requests to amend their original application by submitting an Amendment Form, found below.
Submit a Report
All industrial hemp growers authorized under the New York State Industrial hemp Pilot Program must submit certain reports. Check out the document below to learn about what information is required and when it is due.