Background

Hemp has been an important crop throughout the history of the U.S., and to a certain extent in Tennessee according to Tennessee’s Department of Agriculture. The history of hemp production in Tennessee dates to the early 19th century with the arrival of pioneer families. According to the 1850 U.S. Census, Tennessee produced almost 600 tons of hemp! With the arrival of steamships, demand for sail cloth and cordage began to wain.

Production and processing declined after World War II with the passage of state and federal laws aimed at regulating the narcotic varieties of Cannabis. Its decline was further accelerated with the development and availability of cheap synthetic fibers. Also, the resurgence of cotton production in the deep South was likely a contributing factor to hemp’s decline.

Details

  • License fees are based upon the total acreage of growing areas for the corresponding physical address: < 5 Acres: $250 5-20 Acres: $300 > 20 Acres: $350 University: waived
  • Grower licenses are provided per physical growing address and one address may have multiple growing areas.
  • A growing area is indoors if it is fully enclosed and temperature controlled
  • Hemp grown without a license will be treated as marijuana – which IS NOT legal in Tennessee

Key Findings

  • 8,720 growing areas registered
  • 4,186 licenses issued
  • Average grow area is 5.6 acres
  • 2,475 growing areas are indoor accounting for 1,270 acres
  • 6,232 growing areas are outdoor accounting for 48,113 acres

Tennessee Hemp: Key Figures

Here is the county leaderboard by acres:

Tennessee Hemp Leaderboard

Conclusion

As we have pointed out in past posts, each state handles their regulation differently. In the case of Tennessee the state is responsible for testing. According to the state, every crop grown and every variety may be inspected and sampled by a TDA plant inspector prior to harvest. The grower should contact TDA 30 days prior to harvest for an inspection. The license holder is responsible for paying all fees associated with the sample. Each sample is $150. Samples are conducted by collecting cuttings from a statistically representative number of plants into a composite sample. This contrasts with Texas where farmers can obtain a testing license to test the hemp of other farmers.

And as we have seen in other states processors are not required to be licensed or registered with for processing hemp. However, If you plan on making a product for human consumption, you are required to be licensed as a food manufacturing facility. This is similar to what we are seeing in other states where regulators share the burden.

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