Plant Industry Services
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.
The industrial hemp-related legislation that Governor Northam signed in April 2018, House Bill 532 and Senate Bill 247, creates a new hemp research program, in addition to the existing higher education industrial hemp research program, that will be 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. The legislation also replaces the current industrial hemp grower licensure program with a registration program for industrial hemp growers and processors. These amendments to the Virginia Industrial Hemp Law become effective on July 1, 2018. VDACS is currently working to implement these amendments and will update this webpage as the new programs develop.
VDACS is currently working to establish this new research program. We will update this webpage as we develop the program. As the law establishing the Virginia Industrial Hemp Program does not become effective until July 1, 2018, the first outdoor plantings under this new research program will likely occur during the 2019 growing season.
VDACS has entered into signed agreements with the following institutions of higher education to conduct industrial hemp research.
James Madison University (JMU)
JMU will research how effectively industrial hemp will grow in Virginia’s Ridge and Valley province and will test whether industrial hemp seed can be planted and harvested with conventional agricultural equipment. JMU will also investigate the use of industrial hemp seed oil in the production of biodiesel.
University of Virginia (UVA)
UVA will conduct 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 will research and analyze required soils, growing conditions, and harvest methods related to various varieties of industrial hemp; conduct industrial hemp seed research; and study the use of industrial hemp in new energy technologies.
Until July 1, 2018, Virginia law requires that, before growing industrial hemp as part of an industrial hemp research program, an individual must obtain a grower’s license from VDACS. In order to obtain a grower’s license, you must first obtain a written agreement with a public institution of higher education that documents that you are a participant in that institution’s industrial hemp research program.
After July 1, 2018, Virginia law requires that, before growing or processing industrial hemp as part of an industrial hemp research program, an individual must obtain a grower or processor registration from VDACS. VDACS is currently working to establish this new registration program. We will update this webpage as we develop the registration process.
Possession or cultivation of industrial hemp plant material or viable seeds is illegal in Virginia unless you have a grower or processor license and you are in possession of or cultivating industrial hemp as part of an industrial hemp research program.
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