by Christine Athens
Over the past few weeks, the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) opened the Hemp Cultivation Portal. Now, those who live in the state and wish to grow industrial hemp can apply online for a permit to get their hemp license.
Of course, now that you can grow hemp in Florida legally, there are steps to take before you can apply. Consider this your checklist.
Florida Cultivation License Checklist
As of April 27, the FDACS began accepting applications for industrial hemp growing licensing. By working closely with the state’s farmers, processors, retailers, and consumers, the department intends to create the “gold standard” for the industry throughout the entire nation. Nikki Fried, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s commissioner, believes that this emerging industry will bring in billions for Florida’s state economy as well as the rest of the country.
Of course, to create an effective model for industry licensing and cultivation, there are steps that prospective growers must take to apply. So, if you plan to grow hemp in Florida, here’s what you need to do first:
Understand the Rules
When you have a license to cultivate hemp, you’ll have to adhere to specific rules and responsibilities. Those rules and responsibilities include:
- Reporting crop harvests
- Maintaining environmental containment
- Testing and submitting samples for THC content, contaminants, pesticides, heavy metals, etc.
As a business owner, understanding and following the rules will keep you in line with the laws of cannabis compliance. It will also ensure that you’re able to stay in business once you get your hemp license.
Have a Business Plan
The first thing you need to do is state your purpose. Are you planning to grow hemp for textiles, fibers, oil, nursery plants, CBD, etc.? Where will you get your seeds and cultivars from? Who do you plan on selling your harvest to?
The type of hemp business you’re leaning towards will determine the kind of business license and registry you’ll need.
Prepare Your Environmental Containment Plan
The application process requires that you submit an environmental containment plan for each of your grow locations. Your environmental containment plan should demonstrate how you will retain hazardous material and prevent it from entering the surrounding environment. You can find an example here.
Submit a Background Check
All applicants must complete a background check along with fingerprints. Once you’ve completed your background check and a full set of fingerprints, you’re required to send them to a Livescan service provider approved by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.
A background check and set of fingerprints will be required for each individual involved in your business plans,
Create an Account and Submit Your Application
You can submit your Hemp Cultivation application through the Hemp Cultivation Portal. Be sure to fill out the application completely and accurately, with the correct property tax and classification information, as well as a valid email address.
Once you send in your application, you’ll receive a confirmation email—which you must save. The FDACS will begin reviewing your application and will notify you if they need more information. Once you’re approved, you’ll receive an email with your hemp cultivation license.
Ready, Set, Grow!
If you’re looking to obtain your hemp license to produce CBD, there are laws regulating the type of seeds new growers can use. You can read more about the rules and regulations regarding the approved seeds here.