Hemp plants

The Department of Agricultural Resources’ Hemp Program has released a policy statement regarding the sale of hemp-derived products in Massachusetts.

The policy provides notice of categories of hemp-derived products that are approved for sale in the Commonwealth and identifies products that are prohibited. The policy also provides information on how a person or entity may become licensed to sell under state law (Ch. 128, Sec. 118). All proposed activities related to the sale of hemp-derived products must comply with the policy in order to be considered in compliance with the law.

The policy applies only to hemp and hemp-derived products. All activities related to marijuana or the sale of any product containing marijuana is under the jurisdiction of the Cannabis Control Commission or law enforcement.

The cultivation, processing and sale of hemp in Massachusetts are regulated by both federal and state law. As a result of the Agricultural Improvement Act of 2018, referred to as the “2018 Farm Bill,” federal law treats hemp as an agricultural commodity, distinguished from marijuana except under limited circumstances.

While states await further regulations and guidance from the U.S. Department of Agriculture on how to develop, expand and implement hemp programs within their jurisdictions, the MDAR policy identifies what is allowable and prohibited at this time.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recently issued a statement that limits the types of cannabis-derived products that can be manufactured and sold to consumers. In particular, the FDA has prohibited any food or other consumable products containing the cannabinoid known as CBD from interstate commerce without its approval.

Local boards of health have the authority to enforce public health laws and regulations within a municipality.

The MDAR Hemp Program provides oversight and regulation of legally grown hemp for commercial purposes in Massachusetts under Chapter 128, Sections 116-123, or as part of an Agricultural Pilot Program (under the USDA Farm Bill). The Hemp Program oversees all licensing for hemp cultivators and processors, and enforcement of laws and regulations pertaining to industrial hemp in the Commonwealth.

Download Hemp Program policy statement (247K PDF)
Visit MDAR Hemp Program website
Visit Department of Public Health website for FAQs regarding CBD in food manufactured or sold in Massachusetts