Applicants planning on manufacturing hemp products for human use in Connecticut must pay a $50 application fee and a $250 fee if approved for the two-year permit, according to the agency website. Applicants growing and processing hemp for industrial purposes and retailers do not need DCP licensing, but they do need a permit from the Department of Agriculture.
The program is operating under pilot program rules signed into law by Gov. Ned Lamont in May; last year’s federal farm bill requires U.S. Department of Agriculture approval for final rules for permanent programs.
Consumer Protection Commissioner Michelle H. Seagull told the Middletown Press that she is “pleased” to have gotten the program up and running so quickly after the bill’s signing.
“I want to thank the Department of Agriculture and our legislators for their support in making the start of this program a success. I look forward to this program growing as an important part of the state’s economy, and encourage those with questions about hemp manufacturing to reach out to us.” — Seagull, to the Middletown Press
In his budget, the governor earmarked $136,000 to the Agriculture Department to develop and regulate the industry. The agency is also provided a lab technician to conduct compliance testing for hemp crops.
Bryan Hulburt, former executive director of the Connecticut Farm Bureau who now serves as the Connecticut Agriculture commissioner, noted prior to joining the government that there are a lot of steps that need to be taken in advance by farmers before they even put seeds into the ground, including a USDA seed waiver, seed procurement, financing, and field preparation.
In April, the USDA released guidance for farmers seeking to import hemp seeds from outside the U.S.
Hulburt estimated that 500 pounds to 1,500 pounds of hemp flower could yield between $37,500 to $150,000 per acre.
“Having a high value crop would keep farmers on the land, be an incentive for farmers to put more land into production, attract new farmers to the industry, stabilize farm incomes, add business opportunities for agricultural support businesses, employ more people, support the opportunity for value-added production, and generate more revenue for the state,” Hulburt said in an interview with the Press.
Farmers will have to show that they are doing some research to qualify for the program.