Skip to main content

NC State Extension

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Is growing hemp federally legal?
Yes, but only when grown under state pilot programs such as this one. Once the USDA puts out rules for their program authorized by the 2018 Farm Bill, the pilot programs may end and USDA rules will be implemented as will rules of any state programs approved by the USDA. The time frame may be about a year from the signing of the Farm Bill. Each state can submit a plan for a state program that follows USDA rules. The state program can be more restrictive than the USDA program. Growers likely will still need to licensed and have their crops sampled for THC to ensure it is hemp and not marijuana. NC will submit a plan for USDA approval this year.

Do I need a license to grow industrial hemp?
Yes. You must apply for license and be approved for a license by the Industrial hemp Commission to grow hemp. This rule remains in place even after the passage of the farm bill.

What do I need to do if I want to buy raw hemp and process it into a product? Link to Processor Information

What if I want to sell CBD products for human or animal use? This program does not govern retail sales. The FDA and NCDA&CS Food and Drug Section govern sales of all food, feed, supplements, drugs, and cosmetics. They have recently released a statement on CBD sales.

I have questions about the Application.
Link to FAQ page

How often does the Industrial Hemp Commission meet to approve applications for licenses?
The Commission does not meet on a set schedule, currently. The Commission usually meets based on how many applications are received by NCDA&CS. In the spring, they usually meet every other week or even weekly. Later in the year, it may be every other month.

How many days before the Commission is scheduled to meet should I turn in my application?
You should submit your application at least 7 business days before the Commission meets. If you turn in your application only a few days before the Commission meeting, it will not be reviewed until the NEXT meeting.

Can I use Pesticides or Herbicides on my industrial hemp crops?
There are no EPA labeled pesticides or herbicides registered for industrial hemp. That means that MOST pesticides that can be used on other crops cannot be used on industrial hemp. For the EPA definition of what is classified as a pesticide and what is not, please read this EPA document on “What is a Pesticide” (written in easy to understand language, I promise).

There are, however, some minimum risk pesticides that do not have to be registered with the EPA and are regulated on a state level. Here is a link to the EPA Minimum Risk Pesticide page. A company can apply to register a minimum risk pesticide for use on industrial hemp within a particular state. In August 2018, the NC Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services Pesticide Division provided us with this guidance on minimum risk pesticides approved for use on industrial hemp in NC:  25b pesticides that are labeled for industrial hemp can be used in North Carolina. In addition, 25b pesticides labeled broadly enough that industrial hemp can be considered to be covered by the label can also be used in North Carolina. Since some of the by-products of industrial hemp may end up in consumable products, the ingredients in the 25b products must be approved for application to food crops and the 25b products must be labeled for application to food crops.  But, keep in mind, if there is language on the label that would in some way prohibit application to industrial hemp, the label language supersedes our comments above. The EPA also dictates which inert ingredients can be in the 25b products and not all of them are approved for food use. Here is the link to the minimum risk pesticide info. Click on “Condition 2” to see links to the inert information. I’d recommend that growers double-check with the manufacturers of the 25b products they are interested to confirm that the all the ingredients are approved for food use. As you know, pesticide labels can change over time which can make a once acceptable product no longer usable. Also, acceptable new products may be introduced at any time. Due to this, we [NCDA & CS] will not be developing a list of products to choose from. We hope the information above will help you with your selection of appropriate pesticides for use on industrial hemp in North Carolina. (provided by Lee Davis, Pesticide Registration Manager, NCDA & CS). Please see this news update for more information

Can my industrial hemp be certified as organic by the USDA?
Yes. Organic certification for hemp works the same way as for any other crop.

How do I find seeds or clones to start growing hemp?
It is the responsibility of the grower to source seeds or clones. It is also the responsibility of the grower to make and handle all business relationships related to their hemp production. However, NC State maintains a list of seed sources on this portal. The sources are for your reference only and are not endorsed by NC State or the Industrial Hemp Commission.

What is industrial hemp grown for?
Hemp is grown for three main reasons- fiber, grain and floral materials.
The strong fibers can be used for many products including rope, textiles and the automotive and petroleum industries. The grain is used for human food such as granola bars and protein powders. The pressed seed oil from the grain is used like sunflower seed oil. The floral materials are sold to extraction companies to remove the chemical oils/extracts that the hemp flower produces.

Can I use my industrial hemp for animal feed?
No. The FDA has not approved industrial hemp as an ingredient in commercial animal feed.

What happens if my industrial hemp tests over the legal limit of 0.3% THC?
If your crop tests over 0.3% THC, it will be destroyed.

Who does the THC test for compliance purposes?
The Department of Agriculture (NCDA&CS) will send an inspector to your farm to take a sample of your crop. The sample taken is analyzed in a contracted lab. However, if the sample tests over the limit, it will be re-run in the state drug lab. Costs of these tests must be paid by the licensee.

Do I need to contact anyone for THC testing for compliance purposes? If so who and when?
When you crop begins to flower you should let NCDA&CS know via email (industrialhemprequests@ncagr.gov). That will allow them to schedule a time to sample your crop.

I have a different question that is not answered here.
Try the NCDA&CS FAQ page!

For questions about your application, licensing, laws, or THC testing, email industrialhemprequests@ncagr.gov These are handled by NCDA&CS staff.

For questions about the end-of-season survey, agronomy questions, or the IH Commission, email IndustrialHemp@ncsu.edu These questions are handled by NC State University faculty and staff.