Picture of Hemp fields with text "Industrial Hemp Pilot Program"


UPDATED 11/4/2019


HDOA’s industrial hemp pilot program regulates only the cultivation of industrial hemp.  It does not regulate the processing of industrial hemp or products made from or containing industrial hemp.  The pilot program places no restrictions on cultivating industrial hemp containing cannabidiol (CBD).  However, there may be other laws or regulations that restrict or prohibit CBD in hemp, both during cultivation and after harvest.  To ensure compliance with all laws and regulations, HDOA recommends consulting with an attorney or regulatory specialist.

For information regarding CBD in Hawaii, please see: http://health.hawaii.gov/food-drug/cbd-information/



  • The 2018 Federal Farm Bill specifically did not invalidate current state regulations.
  • Currently, the only legal means of cultivating hemp in Hawaii is the department’s Industrial Hemp Pilot Research Program, which is based upon the 2014 Farm Bill and state law enacted in 2016.

To view the HDOA news release regarding USDA’s recently released interim final rule regarding hemp production, go to: http://hdoa.hawaii.gov/blog/main/nr19-21ushempregs/

For more information on 2018 Farm Bill and USDA’s Interim Final Rules for Domestic Hemp Production see:

To view a 12-minute webinar by USDA on the interim rule, go to: https://content.govdelivery.com/accounts/USDAAMS/bulletins/26a23d9


  • Q:I have cannabis which tests at or below 0.3% THC, which I am growing under my medical marijuana card, or just growing with no license and no card.  Is this legal now that hemp is legal?

A: NO.  The only legal way to cultivate hemp in Hawaii is under a license from the Hawaii State Department of Agriculture.  This means any cannabis growing in Hawaii outside of the state’s industrial hemp pilot program, no matter how it tests, is legally marijuana.



  • Q: Is HDOA supplying  seed? How much seed will be given to each licensee? Do you know what the cost is if there is a charge?

A. HDOA will work with licensees to facilitate the receipt of approved genetics at the licensees’ cost.  Amounts of seed granted, if requested from HDOA’s seed on hand, will be determined by availability and demand.

  • Q. How can I sell seed in your state?

A. Unless a licensed grower in HDOA’s program requests to use your seed, HDOA will not review or approve usage of your seed in HDOA’s program.  In addition, viable cannabis seed is still considered marijuana under state law, and state law is permitted by the 2018 Farm Bill to be more restrictive than Federal law.

  • Q. Can a licensed grower sell the seed to someone else?

A. A licensed grower in Hawaii’s program can produce and sell viable seed from approved genetics to another licensed grower in Hawaii’s program, provided that they comply with seed distribution/labelling laws, intellectual property rights, and any other applicable laws.

https://hdoa.hawaii.gov/pi/ppc/cm/ – Seed law information in 4th paragraph of the Chemical/Mechanical Control Section page.

Hawaii Seed Law is Chapter 150 HRS, Seed rules is Chapter 4-67 HAR

A link for the HDOA Seed License Application is included there. https://hdoa.hawaii.gov/pi/files/2013/01/seed-license-2pages-rvised-2017-fillable.pdf


  • Q. What will inspections look for? How will inspections be conducted? (Unannounced or scheduled?)

A. Routine sample collection and testing will take place sometime within 30 days before harvest.  Inspections may be announced or unannounced, and be performed to ensure compliance with rules, and confirm reports and adherence to stated research and best management plans.

  • Q. What kind of tests will be done? Will the tests be conducted in Hawaii or sent elsewhere?

A. Potency testing for THC and sometimes pesticides screening. Conducted by authorized labs here.  THC will be measured by combining THC and decarboxylated THCA.

  • Q. How is HDOA going to make sure that industrial hemp is not sold as real marijuana?

A. HDOA will carefully review applicant’s security plans to ensure that it is appropriate for the location and endeavor proposed.  Ultimately, it is the licensee’s responsibility to protect their crop, and report any theft to law enforcement.


  • Q. Will the Hawaii Department of Agriculture provide hemp processing facilities or buy hemp from growers?

A. No.

  • Q. Will I need a permit from HDOA if I want to process hemp?

A. No permit is necessary from HDOA, as HDOA regulates growth, not processing. Those who process hemp may, however, fall under the regulatory oversight of other state and/or federal agencies.

  • Q. Can the hemp products be sold outside of Hawaii?

A. HDOA regulates growth, not processing or manufactured products.  Other departments such as the Department of Health or Department of Public Safety may have applicable rules or regulation.

Hemp in Animal Feed
See: Association of American Feed Control Officials Guidelines: https://www.aafco.org/Portals/0/SiteContent/Announcements/Guidelines_on_Hemp_in_Animal_Food_May_1_2019.pdf