In Michigan, industrial hemp and products manufactured therefrom are regulated by the Michigan Department of Agriculture & Rural Development (“MDARD”). Earlier this year, MDARD issued licenses permitting the manufacture, processing, and sale of hemp-based products on a temporary basis as the Department developed the “state industrial hemp plan” (the “IHP Plan”) required by last year’s federal Farm Bill.

Many farmers, processors, and retailers of hemp merchandise, including but not limited to cannabidiol (“CBD”) products, were able to obtain these interim licenses, which by their express terms expire at midnight on November 30, 2019. With no indication when the State’s IHP Plan will be issued, many of these licensees have worried about how and when they would need to renew their licenses.

On August 21, 2019, MDARD issued a statement confirming that all existing 2019 hemp grower registrations and processor-handler licenses will expire at midnight on November 30th, but that current licensees will receive 2020 registration and license renewal packets containing the necessary forms and instructions for renewing roughly 60 days before then (or by the end of September). Significantly, the packets will be mailed to the mailing addresses listed on the 2019 applications, so it is important for current registrants and licensees to make sure that the address that they have on file with MDARD is current and accurate.

Applications to renew existing grower registrations and processor-handler licenses must be postmarked on or before November 30th; any applications submitted after November 30th are subject to a late fee of $250. Finally, MDARD noted that any currently registered hemp growers or licensed hemp processor-handlers who do not receive their 2020 renewal packets by October 15, 2019, should contact MDARD Customer Service at 1-800-292-3939 (Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.)

Further information regarding industrial hemp production, sale and distribution rules and regulations in Michigan can be found at

For any additional questions on licensing or the renewal process, please connect with Bruce Courtade or another member of our Cannabis Law Team.  We can also provide assistance with

  • Applying for state licensure (and appealing when the license is denied);
  • The formation of corporate entities for the purpose of becoming involved in the growth, production, and sale of marijuana and hemp products;
  • Educating employers regarding the impact of relaxed marijuana laws from an HR and safety perspective;
  • Obtaining zoning approval for marijuana production and retail facilities from local municipalities;
  • Drafting contracts for the construction of marijuana production facilities; and
  • Reviewing leases to be used for the production or sale of medical marijuana and CBD products.

We would be happy to discuss your potential interest in issues regarding the growth, production, and sale of marijuana and hemp/CBD in Michigan with you. However, it is important to note that marijuana is still considered a Schedule 1 controlled substance under Federal law, regardless of the fact that its use has been approved for medical and recreational use in Michigan. Therefore, possessing, using, distributing and selling marijuana are all federal crimes, and this post is not intended to give you any legal advice, or to lead you to believe that marijuana is legal under federal law. Please also note that even though marijuana is illegal under federal law, persons or companies generating income from its use or sale will need to pay federal taxes just as though you are a legal entity.


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