Tennessee: Want to grow some hemp - legally?

NASHVILLE- The Tennessee Department of Agriculture says it is now accepting applications from farmers and producers interested in growing industrial hemp.

In 2013, the Tennessee General Assembly enacted Public Chapter 916 tasking the department with development of a licensing and inspection program for the production of industrial hemp in Tennessee. As provided in the law, industrial hemp may only be grown as part of a research or pilot project.

Industrial hemp is Cannabis sativa L., the same plant species as marijuana. But according to agriculture officials, industrial hemp has "significantly lower" amount of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) content - the compound that produces the high in pot.

Industrial hemp can be found in a variety of products, including fabric, textiles, fibers, and foods. More than 30 nations grow industrial hemp as an agricultural commodity.

Copies of the application and Memorandum of Understanding can be downloaded at http://www.tn.gov/agriculture/regulatory/industrialhemp.shtml.

Those interested are asked by the department to sign both the application and the MOU and also include the particular cultivar you wish to use and the quantity requested.

If the application is approved, the department will assist in obtaining seed in compliance with requirements of the federal Drug Enforcement Agency. Individuals are not permitted to import their own seed.

Email the completed application and MOU to industrial.hemp@tn.gov.