Plant Industries

Serving the citizens of Arkansas and the agricultural and business communities by providing information and unbiased enforcement of laws and regulations set by the Arkansas State Plant Board

Hemp Program Rules & the Law

HEMP AND THE LAW

Even though the 2018 Farm Bill removes hemp from the controlled substances list, no person can grow, handle (possess), or process hemp plants, viable seed, leaf or floral materials without a hemp license issued by the Arkansas Department of Agriculture (Department). 

As stated in A.C.A. § 2-15-410(b), “Industrial Hemp that is found in this state at any location off the premises of an industrial hemp grower licensee is contraband and subject to seizure by any law enforcement officer, unless the person in possession of the industrial hemp has in his or her possession either: (A) the proper licensing documents under this subchapter, or (B) a bill of lading, or other proper documentation, demonstrating that the industrial hemp was legally imported and is otherwise legally present in this state under applicable state and federal laws relating to industrial hemp.”

To view the Arkansas Industrial Hemp Act in its entirety, as well as the Department Hemp Research Program Rules, visit this link Hemp Law & Rules. Most general questions pertaining to the program can be answered by reading through this document.

For full details on the federal hemp program, see the USDA USDA Hemp Rules & Regulations.

License Holders investing at this early stage in the research should be aware that federal law is subject to change. There is uncertainty at the federal level on what parts of the hemp plant can be lawfully sold.

The Department Hemp Research Program allows licensed hemp processors to make “publicly marketable hemp products” as defined in the Rules (Section 1(A)(33)) as well as A.C.A. § 2-15-403(4). Live plants, viable seed, leaf or floral materials are considered “non-publicly marketable hemp products” and should only be in the possession of an Department Hemp License Holder.

It is also important to keep in mind that Arkansas implements ‘Total THC’ compliance testing, which means the THC-acid precursor molecule is decarboxylated to Delta-9-THC to ensure compliance with the federal and state 0.3% Total THC limit. All states wishing to have sole control over industrial hemp production in their state will implement Total THC testing, per USDA’s Interim Final Rule Guidelines.

To cover the industrial hemp program’s expenses, additional fees and service charges beyond the application and license fees were approved at the Arkansas State Plant Board’s quarterly board meeting on March 10, 2020, following the public hearing. The proposed rule has been approved and is effective as of May 30, 2020. The program fees, however, have not been fully implemented quite yet. Department staff will alert license holders and update the program website as necessary once fees are fully implemented into the program. To review the fee schedule, visit the link below, or review Section 14 of the Industrial Hemp Research Program Rules.

Hemp Program Law & Regulations