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NC Industrial Hemp Pilot Program Application

Frequently Asked Questions Related to the Application for License to Cultivate Industrial Hemp

When is the deadline to apply for a license?

There is no application deadline and applications may be made at any time during the year. Applications will be reviewed for approval or denial at the next Industrial Hemp Commission meeting after the application is processed.

How do I determine a research purpose for my intended cultivation of industrial hemp?

The industrial hemp program in North Carolina is a research pilot program and there are 11 possible research purposes identified in the enabling statute.  Applicants must choose one or more research purposes which they choose to address.  Addressing more than one will not make it more or less likely that an application will be approved.  Careful study of the stated purposes and planning is incumbent upon the applicant.  Applicants are encouraged to contact their local County Extension Agent for guidance in understanding research purposes related to crop production and to notify them of the application.

Will I need to generate and provide data from my planting of industrial hemp?  If so, to whom do I provide the data?

Licensed industrial hemp growers will be required to report data, information, and results related to their stated research purpose to NC State and NC A&T. For most of the licensees (those who want to market what they grow), the data and information collected will be the same kind that astute farm managers would normally collect and will come from demonstration plots and not from replicated small plot trials. Replicated small plot trials generally will be done under the direct supervision of university researchers and the product will not be marketed. If you have interest in having replicated small plot trials from which the hemp will not be marketed, please contact your County Extension Agent. We are in the process of hiring an Industrial Hemp Program Manager to help with the industrial hemp research program. If your license is approved, you can expect to be contacted by the program manager to help facilitate the process of collecting and reporting data related to the stated research purposes.

How do I get in touch with someone from NC State or NC A&T to work on my project?

Please understand this is a research program for NC State and NC A&T to learn about producing hemp. Currently these universities (of which County Extension is a part) have little first-hand knowledge of producing the crop and can only provide limited assistance.  However, you are encouraged to contact your County Extension Agent in the county you wish to cultivate industrial hemp. Extension agents are experienced agronomists/horticulturists but currently have no expertise in hemp. Notifying them that you plan to grow it will alert them to work more closely with appropriate university faculty to be better able to help you in the future or get help for you during the current year. Additionally, if you are approved for a license, the Industrial Hemp Program Manager, once hired, will contact you and be a resource for you.

Will the NC State or NC A&T help guide me on what research to do with my industrial hemp crop?

The law states that this research program “… shall consist primarily of demonstration plots planted and cultivated in North Carolina by select growers”. Demonstration plots are not normally replicated and do not need any advanced statistical layout or planning. Therefore, direct university faculty involvement is not necessary for planning demonstration plots. However, you are encouraged to make comparisons between varieties, practices, planting dates, harvest dates, or other variables. Generally, you would only choose one or at most two variables in order to make clear conclusions at the end of the season. Again, your County Extension Agent may be able to help you decide on which variables to consider. Because of the short time table and the limited number of university faculty and extension agents available to help, not every grower will get, or even need help to design a demonstration project.   No matter how much help you do or do not receive in designing your demonstration or replicated small plot trial plans, the reporting requirement pertaining to the stated research purposes on the application is not affected. Licensed growers will be required to provide at MINIMUM all agronomic methods, inputs, and issues encountered (e.g., seeding rate, method, depth, and timing; planting method and timing; variety or varieties planted; identification of weeds, insects, and diseases encountered and how they were controlled; harvest methods and timing; itemized costs of inputs; yields; problems associated with growing or marketing the crop; and what you would do different next time). Additional data and information will be needed after you sell the crop if you select research purposes related to post-sales activities such as new markets and product development.

Will NC Cooperative Extension or NCDA&CS provide educational information learned from programs in other states? 

Research with industrial hemp has been very limited in the United States. There are few reliable sources of information at this time. For now, interested growers may wish to refer to information from the University of Kentucky, which can be found online at .  As we develop more information in North Carolina and become aware of credible information from other states, it will be provided by either the County Extension Service of NC State and NC A&T or NCDA&CS.

What if I do not know exactly where I will plant my industrial hemp?

The application requires GPS coordinates for all intended plantings and storage.  To be considered, an application must include this information.  If plans change, licensed growers have 30 days to notify the Plant Industry Division of NCDA&CS of any changes from the original application.

What if I do not know which variety of industrial hemp I will plant?

The application requires information pertaining to the specific variety of industrial hemp and its origin.  To be considered, an application must include this information.  Because there is not any industrial hemp seed available for sale in North Carolina at this time, growers will have to source seed from out of state. It is anticipated that doing so will require considerable planning and some expense on the part of the grower.  If plans change, licensed growers must notify the Plant Industry Division of NCDA&CS of any changes from the original application within 30 days.

Will NCDA&CS provide industrial hemp seed for planting?

No.  Identifying a seed source and all the associated costs of obtaining it are the responsibility of the grower.  To the extent possible, the Plant Industry Division of NCDA&CS will help facilitate the importation process.  Remember, Cannabis sativa is still a Schedule 1 controlled substance, so importing seed will require working with the US Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA).

What information will need to be provided for my intended market of the industrial hemp I intend to grow?

Applicants will be required to identify what plant parts they intend to market and where those are intended to be sold.  To be considered, an application must include this information.  If plans change, licensed growers have 30 days to notify the Plant Industry Division of NCDA&CS of any changes from the original application.

What if I intend to process my industrial hemp myself and not sell it to another entity for processing?

This is possible and should be identified as such on the application.

What if I am not able to show income from farming but do own a farm?  Am I eligible for a license?

No.  The industrial hemp program in North Carolina is a research pilot program with the first priority of generating information pertaining to growing industrial hemp in North Carolina.  Only farmers who can demonstrate gross income from their most recently filed U.S. Income tax return are eligible.  However, a licensee may cultivate industrial hemp on land or in greenhouses which do not meet the definition of a farm under North Carolina statute.

Will my income tax information be made public?

No.  Applicants will be required to provide income tax evidence of being a bona fide farmer.  The information will only be used for evaluating an application.  Personal information is protected and will not be shared.  Acceptable forms of evidence of farm income are: for individual filers, Schedule F of the Form 1040, U.S. Individual Income Tax Return; for S corporation filers, Page 1 and Schedule B, of the Form 1120S, U.S. Income Tax Return; for S Corporation, for C corporation filers, Page 1 and Schedule K, of the form 1120, U.S. Corporation Income Tax Return; and for partnership filers, Page 1 of the Form 1065, U.S. Return of Partnership Income and Schedule F of the Form 1040, U.S. Individual Income Tax Return.

What else will need to be disclosed on the application?

The application requires an applicant to disclose any prior felony convictions in the previous 10 years as well as any prior felony drug-related or controlled substances convictions at any time.

What else will I need to agree to in order to be granted a license?

Licensees must agree to monitor and destroy any volunteer industrial hemp plants in the fields or greenhouse for three years after cultivation.  Licensees must agree to maintain all records related to cultivating industrial hemp and the license to do so for three years.  Licensees must agree to notify the Plant Industry Division of NCDA&CS and the North Carolina Industrial Hemp Commission within 30 days of a change in intention from the original application or a change in address. 

Will I be notified if my planting of industrial hemp is sampled for THC levels?

Yes, but not in advance.  Further, applicants must agree to provide access to plantings and storage for NCDA&CS personnel as well as local law enforcement at any time without prior warning.

Who pays for the THC analysis?

Laboratory analysis of THC levels is the responsibility of the license holder.  It is anticipated that this cost will be around $200/sample.

How much will a license to cultivate industrial hemp cost?

Approved applicants, prior to being issued a license must pay a $250 initial fee in addition to an annual fee of $250 for less than 50 acres or $500 for more than 50 acres, as well as a $2/acre or $2/1,000 square feet of greenhouse fee. With the exception of the initial fee, all other fees are due on an annual basis.


Here is a reference chart for your calculations: 

Will all annual fees be due for a three-year license when the license is issued?

No.  Annual fees and per acre, or per square foot greenhouse fees, are due annually.  Remember, that if granted a three-year license annual planting intentions must be updated annually with the Plant Industry Division of NCDA&CS.  The annual fee and per acre or per square foot of greenhouse fee will be due at that time.

If I am granted a license but cannot obtain seed, will my fees be refunded?

No.  All fees are non-refundable. 

Will NCDA&CS help me market my crop?

As with all agricultural products, NCDA&CS works to develop products and markets for North Carolina agriculture.  However, NCDA&CS cannot ensure markets are readily available for all products including industrial hemp.  Potential growers are cautioned that industrial hemp is new to North Carolina and the markets are not well-defined at this time.  Growers ASSUME ALL RISK for growing and marketing industrial hemp in this research pilot program.

I heard there is a free license for non-marketing, can I get this one then change later if I decide to market.

No. The non-marketing license is intended only for research conducted directly by faculty at research institutions or qualified researchers. Crops grown under this license may not be sold or entered into commerce. It may only be distributed to other qualified researchers according to all state and federal laws.



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