North Carolina farmers have been cultivating industrial hemp since 2017. The North Carolina Industrial Hemp Pilot Program was initiated by the passing of the federal Agricultural Act of 2014 and subsequent NC legislation via SL 2015-299 2015- (Industrial Hemp Bill).
Since that time, the pilot program grew to over 1,500 licensed producers and the federal government passed the Agricultural Improvement Act of 2018 which removed industrial hemp from the controlled substances act, making hemp a legal agricultural commodity under the general oversight of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Additionally, that legislation charged the USDA with creating a uniform set of rules by which all hemp production would be regulated nationally. The federal Farm Bill of 2018 estabilished the regulatory framework for a U.S. Domestic Hemp Production Program managed by USDA.
Beginning January 1st, 2022, the governance of hemp cultivation in North Carolina transferred to the United Stated Department of Agriculture (USDA) Agriculture Marketing Service (AMS). The name of this nationwide program is the Domestic Hemp Production Program (DHPP). North Carolina farmers interested in growing hemp will now get their licenses from the U.S. Department of Agriculture as North Carolina’s pilot program expired. Letters were sent to licensed hemp producers in the state notifying them of the change in 2021.
Information on the program, including requirements and the application can be found at www.ams.usda.gov/rules-regulations/hemp/information-producers.
Hemp growers can also contact USDA at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 202-720-2491.