The application period for 2020 hemp growing permits is now closed, however applications for hemp processing permits will continue to be accepted throughout the rest of the year.
The 2020 season will be the fourth year that hemp will be grown in Pennsylvania. Since the program's modest start in 2017, with the issuance of 14 hemp research permits issued and 36 acres grown under the authority of Pennsylvania's Industrial Hemp Research Act of Jul. 20, 2016, P.L. 822, No. 92 and legitimized by the 2014 Farm Bill, hemp has seen a major increase in the commonwealth.
In 2019, the cap on both number of hemp permits and amount of acreage per permit were removed, and the Department issued 324 growing permits for farms which planted just over 4,000 acres of hemp. In 2020, the Department is committed to continuing to foster the conditions for Pennsylvanians to grow a profitable, sustainable, and in-demand hemp product.
Since the 2018 Farm Bill allowed hemp to be grown commercially and outside of a research pilot program, Pennsylvania will operate its program under a General Permit authorized by the Act relating to Controlled Plants and Noxious Weeds (3 Pa.C.S.A. section 1501 et seq.).
The Pennsylvania Hemp Certified Sampling Agent Program
All hemp growing in Pennsylvania must be sampled by an independent sampling agent and submitted to a laboratory for THC testing. Contact information for approved Independent Hemp Sampling Agents is available here*.
*Please note that this application is not mobile responsive, a desktop device is recommended for the best user experience.
If hemp growers need an official sample taken but are unable to secure the services of an approved independent sampling agent, they should contact the PA Department of Agriculture Hemp Program staff.
The PA Department of Agriculture is looking for individuals interested in becoming certified to perform sampling.
To become a PDA-certified sampling agent, you must:
- Watch a training presentation about the process and review the sampling protocol and associated forms;
- Apply to become a certified sampling agent; and
- Receive 80% or higher on a test administered by the PDA.
Other changes to the 2020 Hemp Program include the following:
- Processors of hemp must apply for a permit.
- Every property (growing or processing) will require a permit and a separate application.
- The cost of a permit is $150.
- New restrictions for properties include:
For property not owned by the business or permit holder, a copy of a fully executed lease, signed by the property owner and the permit holder must be provided to the Department.For business applicants, key participants in the business are required to have FBI background checks.
- Outdoor growers must plant and maintain a minimum of 1/4 acre and 300 plants.
- Indoor growers must plant and maintain a minimum of 2,000 square feet and 200 plants.
- Hemp may not be grown, cultivated, propagated, planted or processed in or within 200 feet of any structure used for residential purposes, without prior written approval from the Department.
- Hemp may not be grown, planted, cultivated or propagated within 1,000 feet of a pre-kindergarten through 12th grade school property or a public recreational area.
FBI Background checks must be completed within 60 days of the date of application submission. Hemp varieties to be planted this year must be listed on the application.Every variety field or lot (contiguous planting of one variety) planted must be tested for THC within 15 days of harvest by a certified sampler and paid for by the permittee. Hemp permit information and crop acreage must be reported to USDA's Farm Service Agency (FSA) by the permittee. Hemp Permit Applications will be accepted through April 1, 2020.
- Key Participants - persons who have a direct or indirect financial interest in the entity producing or processing hemp, such as an owner or partner in a partnership, or persons at executive levels in a corporate entity (I.e. chief executive officer, chief operating officer and chief financial officer).
PA Hemp Permit Map and Database
An interactive PA Hemp Map is now available, showing the distribution of 2020 hemp permits throughout the commonwealth by County and by Zip Code along with contact information for the permits. This information is searchable by county, zip code, permit ID, permit contact name and institution/business name. (Please note that this application is not formatted for mobile devices.)
Location of Medical Marijuana Grower/Processors
Because permit holders may not plant within 3 mile of a Department of Health licensed Medical Marijuana Grower/Processor, permit applicants are advised to consult the following links to the address listings of Grower Processor locations.