Governor Mary Fallin has approved a new emergency rule that removes the 30-day wait period after approval of a license to grow industrial hemp in accordance with the Oklahoma Industrial Hemp Pilot Program.
Growers with an agreement with a higher education institution and a license from the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry will now be able to plant hemp as soon as their license is approved.
For the 2018 growing season, a new rule received approval Monday that would allow for the immediate planting to occur. This will assist universities and producers with their limited planting schedule for the 2018 season. This should help them avoid issues such as soil temperatures being too high and the chance of the crop freezing before reaching maturity.
As of June 7, ODAFF has approved three applications for license. All three are indoor (greenhouse) applications.
"There are numerous entities offering producers various contracts to lease land or grow hemp. Industrial hemp is a very interesting plant, however, I encourage all landowners and producers to have their contracts carefully reviewed, check with their USDA/FSA office, their insurance provider and their lenders," said Secretary Reese.
These licenses are annual and expire Dec. 31. The license can be re-issued each year, but it is an annual license.
Oklahoma universities and colleges with a plant science curriculum are eligible to apply for an annual license from ODAFF to grow industrial hemp for research. While independent producers may not directly apply for a license, they may contract with a university or college to obtain a license and participate in the pilot program.
An application fee, as well as an inspection fee, is due at the time the license application is submitted. A separate license is required for each cultivation site.
The producer will be responsible for obtaining hemp seed containing less than 0.3 percent delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol concentration. ODAFF will approve seeds certified by another state, province or country as containing less than 0.3 percent THC. ODAFF will verify the certification once the plant has emerged and can be tested.