Wyoming Hemp Overview

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What Is Hemp?

Hemp is an annual herbaceous plant that belongs to the Cannabaceae family. Although marijuana is also a Cannabaceae species, it is not the same as hemp. Hemp and marijuana are mainly differentiated by the THC levels they contain.

Unlike marijuana, hemp contains low THC concentrations. Per the 2018 Farm Bill, hemp must not have more than 0.3% THC content on a dry weight basis. Hemp plants with more than 0.3% THC are considered marijuana and classified as Schedule I controlled substances under federal laws. On average, the THC level in marijuana can be up to 20% or higher. The psychoactive and therapeutic properties of THC make marijuana popular for recreational or medical consumption. Marijuana has an abundance of THC, while hemp is more abundant in CBD and has therapeutic properties. Marijuana and hemp plants have green flowers and buds, but marijuana flowers are usually shorter, while hemp plants have broad leaves.

Hemp is also known as industrial hemp because it can be processed to manufacture industrial goods, such as textiles, paper, or building materials. Hemp parts and derivatives include:

  • Hemp Seed: Hemp seeds are hemp plants' small, edible fruits. It is a known source of plant-based protein. It can be consumed raw or used to make other consumable foods
  • Hemp Flower: This is the flowering part of hemp plants. It contains high levels of cannabidiol (CBD) and low THC levels
  • Hemp Extract: Hemp extract is the concentration obtained from all parts of the hemp plant, including cannabinoids, terpenes, and other compounds present in the plant
  • Hemp Oil: Hemp oil is the oil extracted from hemp seeds. It is commonly used in making food products and skincare products
  • Hemp Hearts: Hemp hearts are obtained by removing the outer shell of hemp seeds. They are soft, edible, and a source of nutrients like protein and healthy fats
  • Hemp Milk: Hemp milk is a mixture of ground hemp seeds and water. It is an alternative to cow’s milk and is suitable for individuals with lactose intolerance

Is Hemp Legal in Wyoming?

Yes, hemp is legal in Wyoming. The industrial cultivation of hemp in the United States was common in the 19th and 20th centuries. However, the 1937 Marijuana Tax Act regulated hemp by requiring government permits. By 1970, hemp became illegal after the passage of the Controlled Substances Act. The Agricultural Act of 2014 (2014 Farm Bill) permitted state departments of agriculture and higher educational institutions to create a hemp pilot program for research purposes. However, hemp largely remained illegal under federal laws till the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill. The 2018 Farm Bill defined hemp as a cannabis plant with no more than 0.3% THC on a dry weight basis. It also removed hemp from the definition of marijuana and established the Domestic Hemp Production Program.

Wyoming passed HB 171 in 2019 to align with the 2018 Farm Bill. HB 171 authorized the use and possession of hemp products with 0.3% THC or less. The Wyoming Department of Agriculture (WDA) submitted its hemp regulatory plan to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), which the USDA approved on February 20, 2020. Wyoming residents with the appropriate licenses can cultivate hemp on properties approved by the WDA. The state permits the transportation of hemp and hemp products across state lines for persons aged 18 years old and over.

What Hemp Products are Legal in Wyoming?

Hemp products with no more than 0.3% THC content are legal in Wyoming. Residents with valid licenses can cultivate hemp for edibles or food products at approved locations. Hemp may only be smoked on private properties in the state, not in public spaces. Wyoming laws ban the smoking of hemp products while driving.

Can A Municipality Restrict Hemp Cultivation or Processing in Wyoming?

No Wyoming municipality can restrict the cultivation or processing of hemp within its borders. Hemp regulations in the state are under the purview of the Wyoming Department of Agriculture. However, municipalities may designate certain areas for hemp cultivation.

How to Get a License to Grow or Process Hemp in Wyoming

The Wyoming Department of Agriculture issues hemp production and processing licenses in the state. To apply for a hemp license in Wyoming, download and legibly complete the Wyoming hemp license application form. Applicants must provide the following information or documents:

  1. A copy of a government-issued photo ID (for individuals)
  2. A Wyoming Secretary of State certificate of good standing (for business entities)
  3. List of key participants
  4. Landowner agreement (If applicable)
  5. Acknowledgment form
  6. An aerial map or photograph (from the Farm Service Agency or online maps) of all the areas where the applicant plans to grow hemp/process hemp. The photo/map must show the boundaries and dimensions of each for growing hemp/hemp processing facility ( measured in acres or square feet)
  7. Criminal history report for all major participants in the application. Applicants must obtain the criminal history reports within 60 days before application submission
  8. A description of all hemp products to be processed (for hemp processors)
  9. Statement of Intended use, containing the end product for all hemp material received for processing (for hemp processors)

Applicants can also apply on the WDA Agriculture Licensing website. They can modify information on their application after submission by completing and submitting the Hemp Amendment Form. Approved hemp licenses are valid till December 31, and licensees must renew their licenses annually. Paper applications should be submitted to the WDA at:

2219 Carey Avenue

Cheyenne, WY 82002

Phone: (307) 777-7321

How Much Does a License to Grow or Process Hemp Cost in Wyoming?

It costs a non-refundable fee of $750 to obtain a license to grow or process hemp in Wyoming. However, non-profit or educational organizations will pay $500. The cost of renewing Wyoming hemp producer and processor licenses is the same as the initial fees paid to obtain the licenses. Both licenses must be renewed annually.

How to Grow Hemp in Wyoming

Hemp licensees can grow hemp on approved properties in Wyoming. Hemp farmers are advised to grow hemp seeds or clones in well-drained loam soil with a pH between 6 and 7. Hemp should be planted an inch deep in the ground and watered regularly. The cultivation process of hemp differs from that of marijuana. Hemp plants are usually grown outdoors in large numbers, but marijuana plants are mostly grown indoors. Also, the spacing between hemp plants is usually more than that of marijuana plants.

The use of pesticides on hemp plants will prevent pests and diseases. The WDA has a Pesticide Program that ensures compliance with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Hemp farmers can use pesticide products registered by the EPA on their hemp plants. Typically, hemp plants reach their maturity stage within 100 to 120 days. However, farmers may harvest hemp earlier than this for use in industrial goods. Hemp licensees must notify the WDA 15 days before the anticipated harvest. They must file a Hemp Harvest Report with the department.

Where Can You Buy Hemp Flower in Wyoming?

Wyoming residents can buy smokable hemp flowers at local hemp shops in the state or from online stores. There are no limits on the amount of hemp flowers they can purchase. However, the THC content in retail hemp flowers must not exceed 0.3%. Licensed hemp businesses can ship hemp flowers into Wyoming.

Hemp vs THC

Hemp is different from THC. Hemp is a variety of cannabis sativa plant that contains many cannabinoids, including THC. THC is a cannabinoid with psychoactive properties in both marijuana and hemp. The THC level in hemp must not be more than 0.3%. In Wyoming, Hemp with more than 0.3% THC is illegal.

Hemp vs CBD

CBD is a cannabinoid found in cannabis plants, including hemp. Hemp has high levels of CBD, which makes hemp suitable for making CBD products. The retail sale of CBD products with 0.3% THC or less is legal in Wyoming. However, only consumers aged 18 years old and over can purchase CBD-based products in the state.

Hemp Applications

Hemp is known for its medicinal use, but it has other applications in Wyoming. Hemp fiber can be processed for use in textile production. It is also possible to make pulps from hemp fibers to manufacture paper. Hemp extract can be used to make skincare products and other cosmetics products. Hemp can also be used to produce construction materials like hempcrete which are environmentally friendly and durable.

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