Home Legislative 30 U.S. States with Industrial Hemp Legislation

30 U.S. States with Industrial Hemp Legislation


The Farm Bill of 2014 legalized industrial hemp at the federal level. As a result, every state has the right to set up industrial hemp pilot programs through universities and/or the state’s department of agriculture. Thus far, only 30 states have taken advantage of the right that was granted them in the Farm Bill. Here, we discuss a little bit about each of the states that currently have industrial hemp legislation.


Yes, the state that produced Attorney General Jeff Sessions has a hemp pilot program. Representative Todd (D) introduced House Bill HB 487, which separated industrial hemp from marijuana in February 2014. Later that year, then-Governor Robert Bentley signed Carly’s Law. As a direct result, in 2015 the young lady who inspired Carly’s law got her first round of marijuana-derived CBD treatment.

On May 10, 2016, Alabama Governor Robert Bentley (R) signed legislation that legalized a hemp pilot program in the state. Also in 2016, Representative Johnson (R) introduced HB 393 to the House, and Senators Bussman (R) and Singleton (D) introduced HB 347 to the Senate.

Alabama is pretty progressive, especially as far as southern states go, for having a hemp pilot program. However, there hasn’t been much progress growing hemp since the bills have been enacted.


Representative Hillman (R) introduced House Bill 1778, legalizing the state’s hemp pilot program. Without the governor’s signature, it was passed into law on April 7, 2017.

On February 2, 2018, Arkansas’s Hemp Association posted that progress for the state’s hemp pilot program is on standby until Governor Asa Hutchinson understands the implications and impact of establishing this type of program. As a result, the Arkansas State Plant Board is on their second draft defining the rules and regulations of the state’s program.


Now, one might assume that California has an operating hemp pilot program. However, you may be shocked to learn that they don’t have a state-run program. Currently, there are only two hemp-related bills that have been passed into law.

On January 1, 2014, The Food and Agriculture Code (FAC) Section 81001 was established to help the California Department of Food and Agriculture advise the CDFA and make recommendations pertaining to the cultivation of industrial hemp, including seed law and regulations, annual budgets, and the setting of an assessment rate. On November 8, 2016, California’s state legislature passed a bill into law that defines hemp separately from marijuana.

June 24, 2017 was the first time the Industrial Hemp Task force that was legally established in 2014 held a public meeting.


There is a reason that this state is ahead of the rest of the United States when it comes to industrial hemp. Colorado has been passing hemp bills since 1995. Over the past 13 years, their state legislature has passed 5 hemp-related bills into law.

In 2017, Representative Arndt and Senator Donovan introduced SB17 109 – a bill legalizing hemp research in animal feed. As a response to the bill, the CDA conducted and produced a report that contained a stakeholder review summarizing expert opinion of the potential for approving hemp and hemp-by products as animal feed ingredients and it’s limitations and concerns for approval. It concludes with a recommendation for Colorado’s legislators to support more research.

In 2018, there are 2 bills making their way to Governor Hickenlooper; the current Governor has signed 4 out of the 5 hemp bills that have landed on his desk over the years.


Representative David L. Wilson was the primary sponsor of Delaware’s first hemp bill, House Bill Number 385. And with the help of co-sponsors Senator Bruce C. Ennis (D), Senate Majority Leader Margaret Rose Henry (D), Former Senator Robert Venables (D), and Representatives Daniel Short (R), Deborah Hudson (R), Donald Blakey (R), Ruth Briggs King (R), Timothy D. Dukes (R), Ronald E. Gray (R), Joseph E. Miro (R), William R. Outten (R), Stephen Smyk (R), Jeff Spiegelman (R), William J. Carson (D), Jame Johnson (D), Helene M. Keeley (D), John L. Mitchell (D), Michael Mulrooney (D), Trey Charles Paradee (D), the Industrial Hemp Research Act was passed on July 29, 2014.

The second law Delaware’s legislature passed defined the Department of Agriculture and its powers over the hemp pilot program. The bill gives the department an interesting power. If an institution of higher education would like a hemp pilot program on their campus, they need to get approval from the state’s Department of Agriculture.


On June 16, 2017, Governor Rick Scott signed Florida’s hemp pilot program into law. As a result, people who want to grow hemp in the state need to be based in the state and partner with either the University of Florida, Agricultural and Mechanical University or any land grant university in the state that has a college of agriculture. A university can get a hemp pilot program if their board of trustees votes and approves the program.


It’s taken almost two years for this state’s program to happen. Governor David Ige signed bill HB 2659 on July 7, 2016. Three days later, the state legislature and the governor passed SB 773, defining the rules and regulations of the state’s new hemp industry. In June of this year, Hawaii is expected to issue their first round of licenses for hemp growers.


In 2014, the Illinois state legislature passed a bill that defined industrial hemp separately from marijuana. The bill also allows institutions of higher education to grow hemp with approval from the state’s Department of Agriculture and local authorities. The next bill to make it to Illinois’s state legislature was in February 2017. Senate Bill 1294 passed in the Senate. It arrived in the House on May 5th, 2017, and there hasn’t been any progress made since the House re-referred it to the rules committee on July 6, 2017.

Fortunately, there are Senate and House Sponsors across the board. Here are the sponsors: Senator Toi W. Hutchinson (D) – Wm. Sam McCann(R) – Patricia Van Pelt (D)- David Koehler(D), Linda Holmes (D), Napoleon Harris, III (D), Pamela J. Althoff (R)  and Steven M. Landek(D) and Representative Lawrence Walsh, Jr.(D) – Allen Skillicorn(R) – Charles Meier(R) – Sonya M. Harper(D), Theresa Mah (D), Daniel J. Burke(D) and Litesa E. Wallace (D).


Vice President Mike Pence used to be the Governor of Indiana, and while he was governor, he signed 2014 Indiana Code 15-15-13-1 to 15-15-13-17. The bill the former governor passed gives the responsibility of running the state’s hemp pilot program to the seed commissioner. It also requires that people interested in growing hemp need to write a letter of consent to background checks and properties inspections by local authorities. According to Purdue University, April 2015 is when the state issued their first-round of growers licenses.

Recently, Senator Blake Doriot introduced Senate Bill 341– a bill that requires strict labeling laws on hemp products.


In 2001, Kentucky passed it’s first hemp law, HB100, legalizing a hemp pilot program in the state. Between 2001 and 2014, their state legislature has passed 11 bills into law. As a result, Kentucky’s hemp pilot program is competitive with Colorado’s hemp program.    


Maine legalized their hemp program in 2015. On April 6, 2016, the bill that was passed the year prior became effective. Two months later, the state’s first hemp crop was planted.


On May 15th, 2015, Governor Hogan signed HB 803, a bill legalizing a hemp pilot program into law in the state of Maryland. Delegate Fraiser-Hidalgo also introduced HB 0443. This is a bill allowing institutions of higher education in the state the opportunity to develop hemp programs on their campuses. The bill was signed by the Governor on October 1, 2016.

But, the state doesn’t have an operating hemp pilot program. According to the Baltimore Sun, there is a bill in the state’s legislature allowing for potential hemp farmers to apply for a growers license.


Most states legally separate hemp from marijuana, but Massachusetts is not one of those states. On July, 28, 2017, Governor Charlie Baker signed HB 3818, a bill for safe access to marijuana. Even though the bill is primarily about cannabis, it does specifically legalize a hemp pilot program. Only time will tell how they will implement a hemp program in their state.


It was an uphill battle to get industrial hemp legalized in Minnesota. Fortunately, state residents elected Minority Whip and Senator Kent Eken. He has been a sponsor on a number of industrial hemp bills. Hemp was legalized in 2015 in Minnesota.

In 2017, Minnesota’s Department of Agriculture initiated a hemp pilot program. During its first year, 47 people applied to become licensed hemp farmers. Of the 47 applications received, 40 went on to become pilot program certificate holders. Of those, 33 were licensed hemp growers, and there were 56 total fields. The MDA also issued pilot program certificates to 2 testing laboratories, 1 hemp seed dealer, 1 researcher, and 3 processors.


Montana passed its first industrial hemp bill, a bill that gave Industrial hemp a different definition than marijuana. In 2017, the Secretary of State announced a town hall meeting about the new industrial hemp laws. Later that year, the state legislature passed few bills that defined the rules and regulations for the state’s pilot program. Just earlier this year, the state concluded its first application period for 2018.  


On January 1, 2016, Assemblymen Chris Brooks and Richard Carrillo (D) jointly sponsored Nevada’s industrial hemp bill, Bill Number 396. Senator Tick Segerblom also sponsored Bill 305.

New York

New York has millions invested in their state’s industrial hemp program. On August 8, 2016, Governor Andrew Cuomo signed Bill A09310A into law.

In February 2018, the Department of Agriculture and the head of Cornell’s hemp program held a town hall meeting at the NY Farm Show.

North Carolina

The North Carolina General Assembly passed Senate Bill 313 in 2015. The law was modified in 2016. The President of the Senate, Philip Berger (R), and the Speaker of the House, Tim Moore (R), sponsored the first hemp bill that was passed.

In February 2017, Senators Jim Davis (R) and Ralph Hise (R) were the primary sponsors of Senate Bill 124 – a bill requiring residual hemp oil from hemp extract to be disposed of at specific secure boxes managed by law enforcement. It was passed into law on the last day of 2017.

North Dakota

North Dakota’s hemp pilot program started in 2016. In January of 2017, the state released their first report. The state legislature had passed three laws pertaining to hemp before they initiated their program.

According to the state’s Department of Agriculture, “The NDDA requested industrial hemp research proposals in December of 2016. Proposals received on or before January 31, 2017 were reviewed and considered. North Dakota Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring approved 34 of the 42 proposals received. Only processing facilities will be allowed to participate and gain licensure after the January 31, 2017 application deadline.”


March 29, 2016 Governor Kate Brown signed Chapter 71 and Division 48 Industrial Hemp into law. In 2017, the state’s legislature passed House Bill 2371, which allows the Oregon Health Advisory, the Department of Environmental Quality, and the State Department of Agriculture to conduct testing on hemp products grown in state and prepared for human consumption.


After Governor Tom Wolf signed the Industrial Hemp Research Act into law in 2016, the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture launched their hemp pilot program in 2017.

The bill was able to pass into law because it was sponsored by the following current representatives: Russ Diamond (R), Marty Flynn (D), John P. Sabatina Jr.(D), Vanessa Lowery Brown (D), Thomas Caltagirone (D) , Mary Jo Daley (D), Tina Davis (D), Garth D. Everett (R), Florindo Fabrizio (D), Ed Gainey (D), Jordan A Harris (D), William Kurtz II (D), Jim Marshall (R), McNEILL, Dan Moul (R), Thomas P. Murt (R), Mike Reese (R), James Santora (R), Michael Schlossberg (D), Jeff Wheeland (R), Dom Costa (D), Margo Davidson (D), Ryan Warner (R), Mark Rozzi (D), Maria Donatucci (D), R. Lee James (R), Craig Staats (R), Adam Ravenstahl (D), Nick Miccarelli (R) and  Former Representative Jaret Gibbons, James Schreiber, and Frank Farina.

South Carolina

Governor Henry McMaster signed Bill 3559 into law Wednesday May 10, 2017, thereby making it legal for industrial hemp to be grown for research purposes in South Carolina. The bill was sponsored by: Representatives Michael Pitts (R), Russell Ott (D), Joshua Putnam (R) , Craig Gagnon (R), Lucas Atkinson (D), Chandra Dillard (D), Jonathon Hill (R), Wendell Gilliard (D), Roger Kirby (R), Sylleste Davis (R), John Richard King (D), Jerry Govan Jr.  and Former Representatives Becky Martin, Eric Bedingfield and J.Seth Whipper.

The South Carolina Department of Agriculture (SCDA) has selected 20 farmers to participate in the 2018 SC Industrial Hemp Pilot Program. The farmers represent 15 South Carolina counties.


Despite the fact the democratic party was founded in the state by President Andrew Jackson, Tennessee is mainly red in modern times. Fortunately, Representatives Faison, Casada, Miller, Holt, Hardaway, Sextonynn, T, Bailey, Lidwell, Powell, and Parkinson, and Senators Nicely, Bowling, and Green passed Public Chapter Number 916 on April 16, 2014. On May 13, 2014, Governor Haslam signed the bill into law.

For the 2017 growing season, the Tennessee Department of Agriculture (TDA) issued 79 industrial hemp growers licenses. Twenty-five growers did not plant, leaving 54 growers to plant 130 acres across 75 fields in Tennessee. This was 17.5% of the intended acreage approved by the department.


On March 10, 2018, Governor Gary Herbert signed the state’s cultivation of industrial hemp bill into law. The chief sponsor of the bill was Representative Brad Daw, and the Senate Sponsor was David P. Hinkins.

This bill defines terms, authorizes the Department of Agriculture and Food to license a person who wishes to participate in an industrial hemp research pilot program, creates a process to register an industrial hemp product, prohibits a person from cultivating industrial hemp without a license, prohibits the distribution of an industrial hemp product without registration, authorizes rule making authority, and makes technical changes.


According to Vermont’s Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets, hemp has been legal in the state since June 10, 2013 when Title 6 Chapter 34 was passed. The industrial hemp bill was sponsored by the Senate Committee on Agriculture, which includes Senator Robert Starr, David Zuckerman, Eldred French, Norm McAllister and Michael Sirotkin.


In 2015, Virginia’s legislature passed Va. Code § 3.2-4120(G) which allows Virginia’s Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services to establish and oversee the industrial hemp pilot program that is directly managed by an institution of higher education. The schools that have active hemp programs are: James Madison University, University of Virginia, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and Virginia Tech.


In 2016, Washington’s state legislature passed Engrossed Substitute Senate Bill 6206, legalizing a hemp pilot program in the state. In less than a year, their department of agriculture had to stop issuing growers licenses because of a budget deficit. Fortunately the state’s legislature was able to pass a new state budget that increased state funds to be allocated for the industrial hemp pilot program.

West Virginia

June 2017 is when farmers could first apply for their industrial hemp license in West Virginia. Chapter 19- Agriculture was the bill that legalized the state’s industrial hemp pilot program. It’s too late now to apply for a license for this year’s season, however, in November of this year growers can apply for next year’s season.

Currently, Senate Bill 47 is making its rounds in the state’s legislature. The bill expands the state’s industrial hemp program by including a seed program and allowing farmers to create different strains.


The state first legalized industrial hemp when the governor signed Senate Bill 119 on December 4, 2017. The bill was introduced by Senators Testin, Harsdorf, Vinehout, L. Taylor, C. Larson, Lasee, Olsen, Moulton, Craig, Feyen, Tiffany and Bewley and it was cosponsored by Representatives Kremer, Kulp, Krug, Petryk, Nygren, Jarchow, Sargent, Kitchens, Pope, Kooyenga, Crowley, Bernier, Brandtjen, Allen, Quinn, R. Brooks, Genrich, Mursau, Macco, Tittl, Loudenbeck, Thiesfeldt, Skowronski, Knodl, Kleefisch, Tusler, Bowen and Schraa.

On March 9, 2018, Wisconsin passed an emergency bill which outlined the rules for getting a permit, such as requiring applicants to pass a background check. This year will be the state’s first legal industrial hemp growing season.