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Alabama opens 2021 application for hemp growers

by: Reshad Hudson

Posted: Oct 16, 2020 / 07:26 PM CDT / Updated: Oct 16, 2020 / 07:26 PM CDT

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WIAT) — In 2016, the Alabama Legislature passed the Alabama Industrial Hemp Research Program Act, Section 2-8-380 Code of Alabama 1975, tasking ADAI with the development of a licensing and inspection program for the production of industrial hemp.

The program launched in 2019, after The Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 (i.e. Farm Bill) declassified hemp as a Schedule I drug and deemed hemp as an agriculture commodity.

This legislation defines hemp as all parts of the plant containing less than 0.3% THC, including derivatives, extracts, and cannabinoids.

“As the hemp industry continues to grow in Alabama, critical research data is being collected and evaluated,” said Commissioner of Agriculture and Industries Rick Pate. “This is the department’s third year to administer the hemp program. It has always been our goal to manage the program in a fair and timely manner to benefit Alabama farmers and hemp producers and develop industrial hemp as an alternative crop.”

The 2021 University/College Affiliation License Application information will be forthcoming before the first week in November 2020.

For more information and updates, click here. ADAI will receive Industrial Hemp applications until 5:00 p.m. on Nov. 30.

McMillan Arrington and his business partner Coleman Beale started BastCore back in 2014. The two men are processors of hemp for industrial purposes.

“With the changing laws back in 2012 2013 around cannabis, we saw an opportunity there to start educating ourselves and getting involved,” Arrington said.

They say they’ve built a state-of-the-art processing facility in Montgomery. They contract with farmers in the area who ask.

“Our primary focus has been on textiles and apparel, shirts and pants,” Beale said.

Beale says the COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the weakness in the supply chain around the country, which is why their company is now exploring ways to make personal protective equipment from hemp.

Pate says it’s worth doing your research before signing up.

“It’s like any farming venture that probably the better ones will make money. It’s like most businesses, the ones that aren’t good farmers or don’t know what they’re doing or hadn’t done their homework probably won’t” Pate said.

"It has always been our goal to manage the program in a fair and timely manner to benefit Alabama farmers and hemp producers and develop industrial hemp as an alternative crop.”

Deadline Approaching for 2020 Hemp Licenses in Alabama

Cannabis Industry News Alert

Time is running out to apply for a license to grow or process hemp in Alabama in 2020, as the application window is only open from October 7 to November 14, 2019. Growing and processing of industrial hemp in Alabama is only legal for those who are approved as licensed growers, processors/handlers or universities under the Alabama Industrial Hemp Research and Pilot Program.

The Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries (ADAI) launched the program in early 2019, after the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill, which defines industrial hemp as parts of the hemp plant containing less than 0.3% THC, including derivatives, extracts, and cannabinoids (including, for example, CBD). The program includes a process for issuing three types of hemp licenses on an annual basis: 1) grower; 2) processor/handler; and 3) university. All participants, even those licensed for 2019, must apply for and receive a license for 2020.

To apply for a hemp license under the program, applicants must submit a completed application to the ADAI for a license to grow, process or handle hemp, along with all required information, a criminal background check, and applicable fees. Criminal background checks, which are mandatory under the 2018 Farm Bill, can be requested from the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency (ALEA). Applicants should know that the $200 application fee is nonrefundable, and if approved for a license, an additional $1,000 fee will be due for each growing and processing/handling site. Business applicants must submit copies of their formation documentation as well.

Given the relatively short application window and the amount of information that needs to be submitted as part of a completed application, applicants should consider beginning the application process as soon as possible. This is especially true given the requirement that criminal background checks are required. Although ADAI will allow applicants who receive criminal background reports requested from ALEA in late October to submit those reports by November 25, 2019, applicants can reduce the risk that unexpected delays will cause their application to be submitted out of time by starting now.

ADAI has set up a helpful site to guide applicants through the process of completing and submitting an application. There is also a useful FAQ page with key information about the program and application process, including links to application forms and instructions, as well as information on how to request a criminal background check. Additional information about the program and related resources is available here.

Please contact a member of Bradley’s Cannabis Industry team if you need assistance obtaining a 2020 license to grow or process hemp in Alabama.

Deadline Approaching for 2020 Hemp Licenses in Alabama Cannabis Industry News Alert Time is running out to apply for a license to grow or process hemp in Alabama in 2020, as the application