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Industrial Hemp

Section 7606 of the federal Agricultural Act of 2014 (i) allows an institute of higher education or a state department of agriculture to grow or cultivate industrial hemp if certain conditions are met and (ii) specifies that industrial hemp may not have a THC concentration of more than 0.3 percent.

Legislation enacted during the 2018 Session of the General Assembly created a new hemp research program effective July 1, 2018, in addition to the existing higher education industrial hemp research program, that is directly managed by VDACS and allows Virginians to grow or process industrial hemp without being a participant in a research program managed by an institution of higher education. This legislation also replaced the previous industrial hemp grower licensure program with a registration program for industrial hemp growers and processors.

Virginia Industrial Hemp Research Program (VDACS-led hemp research program)

VDACS is now accepting grower and processor registration applications for the Virginia Industrial Hemp Research Program. Please make sure to review the grower and processor registration guide prior to submitting an application.

PLEASE NOTE: VDACS is not engaging in research regarding the marketing of any hemp extract containing cannabidiol (CBD) or hemp-derived CBD oil at this time. As such, VDACS is not issuing a processor registration to any person planning to market a hemp extract containing CBD or hemp-derived CBD oil to a person who is not registered to participate in a hemp research program in Virginia. VDACS is currently seeking guidance regarding its ability to engage in market research of hemp extracts containing CBD and to issue a registration to a person interested in such market research.

If you plan to participate as a GROWER in the VDACS-led hemp research program, you should complete the application labeled “OPPR-200.”

If you plan to participate as a PROCESSOR in the VDACS-led hemp research program, you should complete the application labeled “OPPR-300.”

Registered growers or processors may wish to provide the “Agent Documentation” form to each person you intend to serve as your agent for the limited purpose of growing or processing industrial hemp. You do not need to submit this form to VDACS.

Higher Education Industrial Hemp Research Programs

As of July 1, 2018, all institutions of higher education, and not just public institutions of higher education, are eligible to engage in a higher education industrial hemp research program. Additional information regarding participating in a higher education industrial hemp research program will be provided soon.

Prior to July 1, 2018, VDACS entered into signed agreements with the following institutions of higher education to conduct industrial hemp research.

James Madison University (JMU)
JMU researching how effectively industrial hemp will grow in Virginia’s Ridge and Valley province and testing whether industrial hemp seed can be planted and harvested with conventional agricultural equipment. JMU is also investigating the use of industrial hemp seed oil in the production of biodiesel.

University of Virginia (UVA)
UVA conducting agronomic studies as well as studies aimed at establishing new molecular breeding and genetic engineering strategies to specifically enhance the biological properties of the hemp plant.  UVA’s goal is to develop a Virginia hemp cultivar.

Virginia State University (VSU)
VSU is researching and analyzing required soils, growing conditions, and harvest methods related to various varieties of industrial hemp; conducting industrial hemp seed research; and studying the use of industrial hemp in new energy technologies.

Virginia Tech (VT)
VT is conducting agronomic trials to identify industrial hemp varieties that are well-suited to the soils and climate of Virginia and to compare yield responses to various agronomic treatments.

Annual Report

Please Note

Possession or cultivation of industrial hemp plant material or viable seeds is illegal in Virginia unless you have a grower or processor registration, or are a grower or processor’s agent, and you are in possession of or cultivating industrial hemp as part of either the Virginia Industrial Hemp Research Program or a higher education industrial hemp research program.

Erin Williams

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