Industrial Hemp Laws in the State of North Carolina

Industrial Hemp Laws in the State of North Carolina

Information sourced from the North Carolina Department of Agriculture.

Until further notice, North Carolina will continue to operate under the Industrial Hemp Pilot Program authorized in 2014.

Hemp production has been legalized in North Carolina, but only as part of the state's pilot program as allowed under federal law. The N.C. General Assembly passed Senate Bill 313 in 2015, allowing the Industrial Hemp Commission to develop the rules and licensing structure necessary to stay within federal laws. The law was modified in 2016 in House Bill 992. The Industrial Hemp Commission adopted temporary rules for review in February 2017; these were approved by the Rules Review Commission of the Office of Administrative Hearings.

USDA Importation of Seed:

The passing of the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 (2018 Farm Bill, Section 10113) removed hemp and hemp seeds from the Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) schedule of Controlled Substances. This action removed hemp and hemp seeds from DEA authority for products containing THC levels not greater than 0.3 percent. Therefore, DEA no longer has the authority to require hemp seed permits for import purposes.

Hemp plants are considered annuals so they are exempt from the NC Nursery Regulations. You do not need to be a registered seed dealer in NC to sell hemp seed because hemp is not currently considered an agriculture or vegetable seed. The NC Seed Law requires all seed packages to have a label containing the following: name and kind of seed; lot number; weight; state or country of origin; % of inert matter; % of other crop seed; % weight of weed seeds; the name and number per pound of each kind of restricted noxious weed seed present; the name and address of the person/company responsible for the seed; % germination, exclusive of hard seed; % of hard seeds (if present); and the calendar month and year of the test date.


North Carolina’s hemp industry is growing quickly, and there are several contracting options currently offered in the market for industrial hemp. This guide provides a brief overview of common provisions offered in these contracts as well as some provisions to be cautious of. It is important to have a signed, written contract to serve as documentation of your agreement in the event that there is a dispute between the parties.

Hemp can be grown for three end-market agricultural commodities: floral bud, fiber, and seed. The majority of current North Carolina hemp production is for floral bud to produce cannabidiol (CBD) oil (NCDA 2019, unpublished data). For this reason, this guide focuses on contracts for delivery of floral bud material and provides information that may be useful when choosing and negotiating a contract for this product. Additional information will be added as it becomes available.

If you are entering a contract for hemp, you should consider consulting an attorney licensed in North Carolina to review the contract before you sign it. A signed contract is legally binding, and it is important that you understand the terms of the agreement you are entering into.

Banks & Financial Institutions

This page contains resources about banks and financial institutions that work with growers, processors, retailers, or others in the hemp industry in North Carolina. The banks and financial institutions page is posted for your information and research purposes. Neither NC State Extension, the NC Industrial Hemp Commission, nor the N.C. Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services (NCDA&CS) endorses or recommends any product, service, individual, business or other entity listed. Please do your homework and perform due diligence on any company listed here before doing business with them.



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