California Industrial Hemp Farming: What to Know to Do It Legal

Industrial hemp agriculture and production is now legal in California. Following the passage of the 2108 Farm Bill, followed by the recent launch of the California Industrial Hemp Program, following approval of Division 24 of the California Food and Agricultural Act. This measure allows registered growers and established agricultural research institutions the green light to grow industrial hemp.hemp attorney

Farmers in Orange County are finally ready to dig in, looking to carve a market niche of one of hemp’s many products, including:

  • Textiles
  • Lotions
  • Paper
  • Biofuels
  • Animal feed

The list goes on for miles, which sets the stage for this incredibly versatile part of the cannabis plant to quickly become an invaluable cash crop and one of the fastest-growing cannabis markets in Southern California. We may even see some marijuana dispensaries and related companies shift their sights more to this sector, given that the glut of black market recreational marijuana and intense state regulatory requirements have left many pot shops struggling to stay afloat

Our Orange County hemp attorneys do urge industrial hemp entrepreneurs to be diligent in the exercise of abundant caution with respect to careful following of local, state, federal and international regulation for hemp cultivation and sales. Basic information costs, restrictions and licensing is on the state’s industrial hemp program page. However, any question hemp law firm that can help establish a business plan, ensure licensing is and navigate the complex regulatory scheme by which hemp growers need to abide for above-board cultivation.

What is Industrial Hemp?

Industrial hemp, as defined in HSC Section 11018.5, is a crop derived from Cannabis Sativa L. (Cannabis is either Indica or Sativa, and while marijuana can be a member of either family, hemp is solely a member of the Cannabis Sativa family.)

Per California law, hemp contains no more than three-tenths of 1 percent of the compound tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, otherwise known as the component that produces intoxication. As understood by state Health and Safety Codes, every component of the Cannabis sativa L. plant is considered hemp – from the flower to the seeds to the resin and everything that can be produced with it.

Orange County Hemp Farm: From List-to-Launch

Just last month, the state’s administrative law office gave the green light for a yearly registration fee of $900 for both new seed breeders of hemp as well as industrial hemp commercial growers. This regulation went into effect upon release April 25, 2019.

Applications for licensing and registration were made public that day too, and the state’s industrial hemp program’s site (only research institutions are exempt). Individual county-level agricultural commissions may have their own rules, and it’s incumbent on hemp farmers (or their hemp cultivation attorneys) to check and make certain all i’s have been dotted and t’s crossed.

Generally speaking, these applications are going to include one’s full name, property description, GPS coordinates, map with notations on which part of the land hemp will be grown. Industrial hemp farmers also have to specify who is growing the seeds and ensure that person is approved by the state too.

Orange County industrial hemp attorneys know the good thing about launching in type of environment is that growers won’t have the threat of criminal drug enforcement constantly looming over their heads. However, they do need to consider that 15 counties in California have implemented moratoriums on industrial hemp growth.

California counties with industrial hemp moratoriums include:

  • Homboldt
  • Mendocino
  • Calveras
  • Yolo
  • Sonoma

Further, it’s not only the the hands-on hemp farmers who need to be considered in this. Ancillary companies joining in an agricultural production contract (also known as an APC). It’s important to make sure a qualified Orange County hemp attorney reviews these aspects so that no matter where you are in the supply chain, you can be confident your employees, your business and yourself are protected.

The Los Angeles CANNABIS LAW Group represents growers, dispensaries, ancillary companies, patients, doctors and those facing marijuana charges. Call us at 949-375-4734.

Additional Resources:

Industrial Hemp Prompts Interest Around California, California Farm Bureau Federation Reports, April 10, 2019,

More Blog Entries:

New Legal Ground: L.A. Sues Unlicensed Pot Shop Over Pesticides, May 3, 2019, Orange County Hemp Farmer Blog

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