Frequently Asked Questions – Vermont Hemp Registry Program

Who is required to register with the Agency, and why?

In 2013, the Vermont Legislature and Governor Peter Shumlin passed S.157/Act 84 (http://www.leg.state.vt.us/docs/2014/Acts/ACT084.pdf), authorizing the cultivation and production of hemp in the State of Vermont, without waiting for the Federal government to relax their regulations prohibiting the cultivation of hemp under the controlled substances act.    Within the Vermont law is the requirement that persons wishing to grow hemp must register with the Secretary of Agriculture, Food and Markets. This registry is intended to identify legitimate farmers wishing to grow hemp as a fiber, food/forage, and oilseed crop. 

What does registration accomplish?

By providing your name, address, acreage(s) cultivated, and declaring intent to grow hemp, you are indicating to the Vermont Agency of Agriculture and Department of Public Safety you intend to grow hemp in good faith and not marijuana for illicit or illegal recreational or medical consumption.  Hemp cultivation operations not included in the registry may be considered marijuana cultivation operations by law enforcement agencies, and might be subject to investigation and prosecution under Vermont criminal law. 

Does registration with the Secretary insulate growers from liability under Federal criminal statutes?

No.  Federal controlled substances laws and regulations are unaffected by the Vermont program.  Hemp growers are advised they may face legal challenges at the Federal level. 

Why is there an annual fee associated with the registry?

An annual fee of 25$ is authorized by the law in order to help offset personnel costs associated with compiling the registry and to provide resources for verification, inspection and  database support to the Plant Industry Section, the division within the Agency charged with implementing the registry. 

Is the fee refundable should I choose not to grow hemp?

No. The Agency will enter your name into our registry upon receipt of the application and fee.  Actual cultivation of hemp is not a requirement of registration, and the effort of entry into the database is not obviated by your choice not to cultivate hemp. 

Will the Agency provide testing, inspection, certification and verification services as provided for in the law?

Not at this time.  Growers of hemp are responsible for verifying that the seeds used are of a type or kind known to produce plants that produce THC below the 0.3% (by dry weight) threshold, and that they may be subject to prosecution under Federal law.  No other services or certification programs are planned at this time.  The Secretary reserves the right to provide these services at a future time, should conditions and/or demand warrant. 

What are the Required Agricultural Practices mentioned in the law?

This program, created and authorized in Title 6 at section 4810, regulates farming activities in order to prevent degradation of waters due to agricultural activities.  Cultivation of hemp is considered farming under that law, so cultivators are subject to the RAP rules.  Copies of the RAPs and details of the program are available at: 

http://agriculture.vermont.gov/rap

What is the relationship between the hemp program and medical marijuana program?

There is no connection.  Medical marijuana is regulated by the Vermont Department of Public Safety.  Details of that program are available at:

http://vcic.vermont.gov/marijuana-registry