Maryland has established the Maryland Industrial Hemp Research Pilot Program when Maryland House Bill 698 was signed into law. Under Maryland Department of Agriculture (MDA) regulations, an Institution of Higher Education (IHE) is able to contract only with individual growers meeting certain qualifications. Once the IHE has determined growers meet the qualifications to participate, the IHE or grower will apply to MDA for approval to grow, cultivate, harvest, process, manufacture, transport, market, or sell industrial hemp as a part of agricultural or academic research.

During the 2019 legislative session, the Maryland General Assembly passed House Bill 1123 and the bill was signed by Governor Hogan and to be effective on June 1, 2019 establishing the Hemp Farming Program. The new program will allow growers who meet the qualifications in the state’s hemp production plan to grow hemp without participating in the research program.

As of Nov. 1, 2020, the Maryland Department of Agriculture (MDA) adopted new regulations that expand the state’s industrial hemp program. The regulations bring the state’s program into compliance with provisions of the 2018 U.S. Farm Bill and establish industrial hemp as an agricultural commodity.​

MDA charges $550 per site for the Maryland Hemp Farming Program and $250 a site for the Maryland Hemp Research Pilot Program. To verify the industrial hemp plants, meet the requirements, the grower must obtain independent testing from a lab that performs testing of medical cannabis in the state.

In 2021, the two programs had the following registrations:

  • Hemp Research – 27 growers, 158 acres and 185,538 sq. ft. of greenhouse production
  • Production Program – 16 growers,149 acres and 79,000 sq. ft. of greenhouse production
  • Total – 43 growers, 307 acres and 264,538 sq. ft. of greenhouse production approved

This total shows a slight decrease in approved applications from the 2020 growing season which had 48 growers, 802 acres and 320,172 sq. ft. of greenhouse production approved.

According to the recent National Hemp Report, 265 acres of hemp were planted in 2023 and 265 acres were harvested, of which 14 acres were grown for floral hemp. 25 growers were licensed for the 2024 growing season in Maryland.

Hemp products such as hemp flower, hemp-derived CBD, hemp milk, hemp oil and topical forms are legal in Maryland, while hemp edibles and hemp-infused beverages are prohibited from sale.

The Maryland General Assembly passed the Cannabis Reform Act (CRA) in spring 2023 after voters approved recreational cannabis in the state in November 2022. The CRA required anyone selling “product intended for human consumption or inhalation that contains more than 0.5 milligrams of THC per serving or 2.5 milligrams of THC per package” to be licensed as a cannabis business. The Maryland Hemp Coalition filed a lawsuit for restricting business opportunities when applied to hemp-derived products. On October 12, 2023, the Washington County Circuit Court, Maryland issued a preliminary injunction that prohibits “the enforcement of CRA against the state’s hemp industry” while the lawsuit is pending a resolution.


Maryland Hemp Industry Infographics


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