The rules around hemp seed certification and labeling are complex and vary from state to state. The passing of the 2018 Farm Bill officially legalized hemp throughout the United States. However, this legislation excluded certifications and labeling requirements at the national level for hemp as a whole. Therefore, states have largely had to legislate these areas themselves.
The only exception is for food and beverage additive hemp products, including edibles (for humans and animals) and topicals. The FDA regulates the labeling and packaging of all food and beverage products already. Still, states often have additional requirements from their agriculture departments and other regulatory agencies.
For hemp growers, awareness of all seed certification and labeling requirements is vital to avoid accidentally breaking the law. These laws are in place to ensure hemp seeds and products are pure and labeled truthfully. That way, buyers have confidence in the identity of quality of the hemp seeds they are buying. Seed laws exist across all 50 states, governing their sale and movement between states as well.
First of All, Growing Hemp Requires A License
Before thinking about hemp seed certification and labeling regulations, hemp farmers first must have a license to grow. The requirements and costs for these licenses vary by state. Without a license, it is illegal to grow hemp in any state.
In California, GPS coordinates of the hemp cultivation site and a criminal history report free of felony convictions for 10 years. This is a state with some of the strictest licensing requirements for growing CBD hemp seeds. Florida also has strict rules for hemp farmers. To get a license, farmers must pass a thorough background check, include the location of hemp cultivation, and include a Hemp Containment and Transportation Plan that specifies where the farmer will store the product and its transportation method.
New York is slightly less strict. They only require growing area details, an indication of the intended use of hemp (such as for fiber, grain, CBD, and seed production), and a marketing plan with a processor who will inherit the biomass. They also must include a short description of the farmer’s hemp cultivation experience.
The license for growing hemp in Texas is also a bit less intrusive, requiring only hemp cultivation location. However, farmers can only grow one varietal of hemp per location per Texas law. Colorado has some of the least strict rules for obtaining a license to grow hemp. The state requires hemp farmers to submit GPS coordinates and a map of the cultivation area.
Every hemp farmer should check their state’s licensing requirements before purchasing any CBD hemp seeds.