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), store, market, or process hemp plants, viable seed, leaf or floral material without first obtaining a hemp license issued by the Arkansas Department of Agriculture (Department). 

Hemp Material can only be in the possession of a Program-Licensee in Arkansas:

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, click the PDF link located on this webpage tab.

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 Program permits licensed Hemp Processors to create “publicly marketable hemp products” as defined in the Program 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 a Department Hemp Program License Holder. For more information regarding publicly marketable hemp products and non-publicly marketable hemp products, visit the ”Restrictions on Sale or Transfer ” web page tab.

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

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 are now in effect for the 2021 season. Refer to the “Applications for the Hemp Program  web page tab for more information.

Hemp Program Rules & the AR Hemp Act of 2017

Supporting, Protecting, and Growing Arkansas Agriculture and Forestry
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72205
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