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Delaware Department of
Agriculture

Hemp Program



Background


Close up of two hemp plants in a agricultural field.Hemp is the plant Cannabis sativa L. and any part of that plant, including the seeds thereof and all derivatives, extracts, cannabinoids, isomers, acids, salts, and salts of isomers, whether growing or not, with the federally defined delta-9 THC concentration of not more than 0.3 percent on a dry weight basis, or the THC concentration for hemp defined in 7 U.S.C. sec 5940, whichever is greater.

In the State of Delaware, hemp is considered an agricultural commodity and is defined as a grain under Del. Code Title 3.

 

Legislation


Delaware

The 149th General Assembly signed Senate Bill 266 into law on August 28, 2018 allowing for the cultivation of hemp for agricultural or academic research, which is the only way that hemp can be produced in Delaware at this time.

The passage of SB 266 also gave the Delaware Department of Agriculture the ability to adopt any policies and regulations necessary to permit the cultivation of hemp when federal law permitted the cultivation of hemp beyond agricultural or academic research. The goal of this legislation was to position Delaware to immediately permit the cultivation of hemp if and when the federal restrictions were repealed; however, federal law still requires Delaware and other states to secure approval from USDA.

 

Federal

The 2018 Farm Bill, signed by the President on December 20, 2018, permanently legalized hemp and hemp products, establishing them as agricultural commodities, and removing them from the purview of the Controlled Substances Act. The 2018 Farm Bill expands hemp farming by authorizing states to develop permanent programs.

 

What Action is Delaware Taking on Commercial Hemp Production?


We realize that hemp is an economic opportunity for our farms and businesses. With the passage of the Farm Bill, the Delaware Department of Agriculture convened an internal committee to develop our state plan. Prior to the December 2018 government shutdown, states were given guidance to develop a plan that would be submitted to USDA for approval.

Through the shutdown we continued to talk with stakeholders, conduct research, and develop our state plan for commercial production. When USDA re-opened following the shutdown, any plans that had been submitted by states were not approved and before submitting plans, states were instructed to wait for regulatory guidance from USDA regarding the 2018 Farm Bill and hemp production. Furthermore, for the 2019 planting season, the 2018 Farm Bill provides states and institutions of higher education the ability to continue to operate under the authority of the 2014 Farm Bill.

This hold from USDA means that no commercial production of hemp will be able to take place in Delaware for 2019. Growers can legally produce hemp in affiliation with an institute of higher education or state department of agriculture.

 

2019 Delaware Hemp Research Pilot Program


The Department has established the Delaware Hemp Research Pilot Program under section 7606 of the 2014 Farm Bill and Delaware Senate Bill 266.  The purpose of the Hemp Research Pilot Program is to explore an alternative to the traditional row crops grown in Delaware. The program authorizes growers to work with permitted institutions of higher education to gain knowledge of any aspect of hemp cultivation, harvesting,  processing,  marketing, or transportation of hemp for agricultural, industrial, or commercial purposes. The Department’s long-term goal is to establish a permanent program for hemp production to provide additional opportunities for growers to diversify, along with developing products that will support other agricultural industries.

This program requires farmers to establish a research agreement with Delaware State University, an institute of higher education, to grow hemp under a research program. Production of hemp for research purposes is limited to 10 acres per approved operation. An operation will be defined by the grower’s USDA Farm Service Agency report FSA-578. Growers must apply to the Delaware Department of Agriculture and be approved and authorized to participate in the Delaware Hemp Research Pilot Program. Hemp may not be grown in Delaware for general commercial activity, only as part of a research program; however, growers participating in the program are able to sell their crop if all research requirements are met.

The Delaware Department of Agriculture cannot advise that a viable market will exist for any grower of hemp to sell their crop. The Delaware Department of Agriculture does not hold any responsibility for ensuring that an end market for hemp or hemp products exists and does not take any responsibility for any losses that may be incurred by the grower.

 

Grower Requirements for 2019 Hemp Research Pilot Program


It is recommended that the grower download and print the 2019 Delaware Hemp Research Program Grower’s Guide to help gain a better understanding of the program. Required forms are available for download in the steps below.

NOTE: The 2019 Grower Authorization expires on December 31, 2019. An updated application will be available in January for the 2020 growing season.

Note: Production of hemp for research purposes is limited to 10 acres per approved operation.
A grower must be 18 years of age or older to be eligible to receive a Delaware Hemp Grower Authorization Certificate.

  1. Grower downloads and completes the Hemp Hemp Grower Checklist, Grower Application, and DSU Hemp Grower Research Agreement.
  2. Grower submits the signed Research Agreement to Delaware State University.
  3. Grower obtains completed fingerprint card (fees will apply) from a National Background Information approved law enforcement agency located in Delaware.
  4. Grower applies online for a FBI Criminal Background Check.
    • The cost is $18 per sealed copy.
    • The Delaware Department of Agriculture requires one sealed copy.
    • When applying on their website, the applicant must fill in all required fields. Specifically under the following tabs, the grower should respond:
      • Personal Information Tab, the Reason for Needing a Background Check: “Personal Review”
      • Mailing Address Tab: Fill in the In Care of Section
        In Care of: “Delaware Department of Agriculture, 2320 S. DuPont Hwy, Dover, DE 19901”
      • Preferences Tab: Date of Birth Included with Results: “Yes”
      • When the application is filled out, click “Complete.”
    • Following the completion of the online application, the FBI will send a confirmation email that they have received the grower’s application for a Federal Criminal Background Check. A copy of this email must be printed out and submitted along with the Grower’s Application and Site Registration.
  5. If the grower plans to see hemp plants, then the grower is required to obtain a Delaware Nursery License. Click on Nursery Industry License Application and follow the instructions to apply. This license is available free of charge.
  1. Once the grower returns a completed Hemp Research Program Checklist and Grower Application to the Delaware Department of Agriculture (DDA), the approval process will begin.
  2. DDA will review the documents and attachments to confirm the grower’s eligibility.
  3. DDA will contact the grower for any follow-up information needed.
  4. DDA will issue and mail a Grower Authorization Certificate and Authorization Number to the grower.
  5. Approved applications are subject to revocation pending results of the FBI Criminal Background Check.
  6. DDA will communicate with Delaware State University and the Delaware State Police the grower’s approval status.
  7. DDA will maintain a digital/paper file of all documents for record, which may be subject to disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).

Note: Only an authorized grower can pick up the hemp seed from the Delaware Department of Agriculture. The grower must show government-issued identification and their Authorization Number in order to obtain the seed.

  1. The grower will order hemp seed, providing his or her Delaware Hemp Grower Authorization Number to the seed company for tracking purposes. The seed must be shipped to the:
    Delaware Department of Agriculture
    2320 S. DuPont Hwy
    Dover, DE 19901
  2. DDA will conduct purity tests on the hemp seed, using as little seed as possible to meet standardization requirements.
  3. Upon notification, the grower will pick up the hemp seed from DDA by presenting government-issued identification and their Delaware Hemp Grower Authorization Number.
    • Only the authorized grower may pick up the hemp seed from DDA.
    • The grower must retrieve the hemp seed within 7 days of notification from DDA that the seed is available to be picked up.

Note: The Delaware Department of Agriculture will need to be notified in sufficient time for the Delaware Department of Agriculture to sample the crop at least 15 days prior to the start of harvest for testing of the THC levels in the crop.

  1. The grower will inform DDA of intent to harvest in sufficient time for the Department to sample the crop for at least 15 days prior to the start of harvest. The grower can notify DDA by calling 302-698-4596 or e-mailing DDA_HempProgram@delaware.gov.
  2. DDA will collect a representative sample of the hemp crop. The sample will be sent to an external laboratory for analysis of delta (9)-Tetrahydrocannabinol concentration. Fees will apply.
  3. Upon receipt of the test results, DDA will provide those results to the grower by e-mail or mail.
  4. If test results show a delta (9)-Tetrahydrocannabinol concentration greater than 0.3 percent dry weight, the grower may request a retest of the submitted sample or to have a new sample be collected for testing.
  1. An affiliation with an institute of higher education is required. The approved institution for Delaware is Delaware State University.
  2. The contact for Delaware State University is Dr. Marikis Alvarez, Associate Dean, College of Agriculture and Related Sciences, 1200 N. DuPont Hwy, Dover, DE 19901; malvarez@desu.edu; 302-857-6400.
  3. The Delaware Department of Agriculture plans to initiate a permanent commercial hemp program when USDA authorizes states to do so.

Processor Requirements for 2019 Hemp Research Pilot Program


It is recommended that the processor download and print the 2019 Delaware Hemp Research Program Grower’s Guide to help gain a better understanding of the program. Required forms are available for download in the steps below.

  1. Processor downloads and completes the 2019 Delaware Hemp Processor Registration Form.
  2. Applicant obtains completed fingerprint card (fees will apply) from a National Background Information approved law enforcement agency located in Delaware.
  3. Applicant applies online for a FBI Criminal Background Check.
    • The cost is $18 per sealed copy.
    • The Delaware Department of Agriculture requires one sealed copy.
    • When applying on their website, the applicant must fill in all required fields. Specifically under the following tabs, the grower should respond:
      • Personal Information Tab, the Reason for Needing a Background Check: “Personal Review”
      • Mailing Address Tab: Fill in the In Care of Section
        In Care of: “Delaware Department of Agriculture, 2320 S. DuPont Hwy, Dover, DE 19901”
      • Preferences Tab: Date of Birth Included with Results: “Yes”
      • When the application is filled out, click “Complete.”
    • Following the completion of the online application, the FBI will send a confirmation email that they have received the applicant’s application for a Federal Criminal Background Check. A copy of this email must be printed out and submitted along with the Delaware Hemp Processor Registration Form.
  4. The Processor should have a the proper certifications and/or licenses to do business within the State of Delaware and a Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN).  If not already completed, click here to register a business and apply for a Delaware Business License.
  1. Once the processor returns a completed 2019 Delaware Hemp Processor Registration Form to the Delaware Department of Agriculture (DDA), the approval process will begin.
  2. DDA will review the documents and attachments to confirm the processor’s eligibility.
  3. DDA will contact the processor for any follow-up information needed.
  4. DDA will issue and mail a Processor Registration Number to the applicant.
  5. Approved applications are subject to revocation pending results of the FBI Criminal Background Check.
  6. DDA will communicate with the Delaware State Police the processor’s approval status.
  7. DDA will maintain a digital/paper file of all documents for record, which may be subject to disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).
  1. Submitting a processor registration form indicates the intent of the applicant to register a facility in the State of Delaware to process hemp products that do not contain a concentration of delta (9)-Tetrahydrocannabinol concentration greater than 0.3 percent dry weight.
  2. The processor affirms that the hemp products used for processing are THC Compliant (not to exceed the maximum concentration of delta (9)-Tetrahydrocannabinol of no more than 0.3 percent on a dry weight basis.
The Delaware Department of Agriculture cannot advise that a viable market will exist for any grower or processor of hemp to sell their crop. The Delaware Department of Agriculture does not hold any responsibility for ensuring that an end market for hemp or hemp products exists and does not take any responsibility for any losses that may be incurred by the grower.

For more information or questions regarding Delaware’s Hemp Program, email DDA_HempProgram@delaware.gov.


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