I have discussed earlier, the 2018 Farm Bill makes significant changes to the
classification of hemp and allows states to begin to develop regulations for
the legal production of hemp. The 2018
Farm Bill removes hemp from the definition of marijuana under the Controlled
Substances Act and allows for states and tribal governments to begin developing
hemp production plans. Hemp produced
under these plans will potentially be eligible for the federal crop insurance
program. The Maryland General Assembly
during the previous session passed legislation allowing the Maryland Department
of Agriculture (MDA) to develop a hemp production plan for the state. MDA will be able to create this hemp
production plan once USDA releases the guidelines for the state programs.
In 2016, the Maryland General Assembly first passed legislation allowing for the development of an Industrial Hemp Pilot Program in the state. That program was recently updated in 2018 by House Bill (HB) 698 to allow farmers contracting with the Maryland Department of Agriculture (MDA) or Institutions of Higher Education (IHE) in Maryland to grow industrial hemp for research purposes. Production of hemp under the program must further either agricultural or academic research. HB 698 became effective on July 1, 2018, MDA has recently issued final regulations to implement this pilot program effective on January 28, 2019, and can be found here.