WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — The Indiana seed commissioner is
seeking approval from the federal government to allow production of industrial
hemp in Indiana under regulations enacted by the state Legislature.
Until such authority is given — a process that could take
several months — no one can legally grow industrial hemp in Indiana, Robert
Even then, growers and handlers would need a license and be
required to comply with stringent state regulations.
“It could be quite some time before we see any legal
production of hemp in Indiana,” said Waltz, who will administer the regulations
as head of the Office of Indiana
State Chemist and Seed Commissioner, based at Purdue
The law initially will enable universities in Indiana to
conduct research into potential uses of industrial hemp.
State lawmakers enacted the law during this year’s
legislative session because the new U.S. farm bill that Congress passed in
February includes a provision allowing universities or state departments of
agriculture to conduct such research provided that state law permits it and that
the activity complies with federal laws.
Waltz noted that neither individuals nor companies will be
permitted to grow industrial hemp or possess its seeds in Indiana until the U.S.
Drug Enforcement Administration and the U.S. Department of Agriculture authorize
Waltz has written to U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack
and to DEA Administrator Michele Leonhart requesting authority for research and
production of industrial hemp in Indiana.
“We are now in a waiting mode,” Waltz said. “Without federal
approval, nothing will happen.”
Industrial hemp, the cannabis sativa plant, is low in
concentration of the psychoactive drug compound tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC,
compared with marijuana that is derived from the plant. Industrial hemp has been
used to make such products as rope, linens and paper.
Colorado in March became the first state to allow farmers to
register for growing industrial hemp.
Waltz said certain legal issues must be worked out before
industrial hemp can be grown, handled, stored and transported in Indiana. In his
letters to the USDA and DEA, for example, Waltz requested guidance on how the
sale and trade of industrial hemp can be legally advertised.
Waltz said that when Indiana receives authorization to grow
industrial hemp, all hemp growers and handlers would need a permit, and they
would have to agree to a criminal history background check and consent to random
inspections to ensure that the plants meet the definition of industrial hemp. No
one with a drug felony or misdemeanor in the past 10 years would be granted a
There would be requirements involving recordkeeping and
proper labeling of industrial hemp in storage and transportation.
The office website contains a link to the state law and
other information about industrial hemp at http://oisc.purdue.edu/seed/industrial_hemp.html.