Skip to content


Industrial Hemp
Pilot Project

2018Farm Bill

Industrial Hemp Defined

As signed into law as Public Law No. 115-334 on December 20, 2018, the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018, otherwise known as the Farm Bill, modified the federal Controlled Substances Act to exempt industrial hemp from the definition of marijuana. The 2018 Farm Bill defines industrial hemp as the plant Cannabis sativa L. and any part of the plant, whether growing or not, that contains a delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (D9THC) concentration of not more than 0.3 percent on a dry weight basis. The 2018 Farm Bill established a mechanism for the legalization of hemp, that required States to develop and submit a regulatory plan to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) for approval. The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) Hemp Production Program was certified by the USDA on April 16, 2020.

FAMU Industrial Hemp Pilot Project

IHPP Launched 2017

The Florida Legislature established the Industrial Hemp Pilot Projects at FAMU and the University of Florida in June 2017. The universities were authorized to conduct research on cultivating industrial hemp in rural areas of the state through collaboration with private partners to facilitate the research. In accordance with Florida Statute 1004.4473(d) states that “Industrial hemp pilot project” or “pilot project” means a project that includes research of industrial hemp and any aspect of cultivation, harvesting, processing, market research, and sales of approved industrial hemp agricultural, industrial, and commercial products.

Partnerships Start

The 2018 Farm Bill and the State of Florida hemp legislation cleared the way for FAMU, the University of Florida and other universities to forge ahead with industrial hemp production in partnership with private companies. Partners are also encouraged to conduct as much research and commercial production as is feasible on FAMU property in Quincy or Brooksville.

Board Approval

Following Board of Trustee approval in January 2019, FAMU finalized partnerships with Sunshine Hemp, Green Earth Cannaceuticals, and Future Farm Technologies of British Columbia, Canada. “Like our Medical Marijuana Educational and Research Initiative, our industrial hemp partnerships offer Florida A&M University an opportunity for education, research and innovation in a fledgling industry,” said FAMU President Larry Robinson, Ph.D. “Our outstanding students, faculty and staff will contribute to the success of this initiative, which will benefit our industry partners along with Florida farmers and citizens.” 

FAMU obtained its first planting permit for Sunshine Hemp of St. Cloud, FL from the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) in July 2019 followed by an initial five planting permits for Green Earth Cannaceuticals of Newberry, FL. Green Earth has been researching the potential of hemp as an invasive species in the State and conducting tests to ensure proper tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) levels of less than 3 percent to eliminate euphoria. With the recent availability of FDACS cultivation permits, both partners are testing hemp plant varieties in compliance with FDACS rules for Pilot Project approval for sale to farmers.

Hemp-based products include beverages, food, cosmetics, clothing, paper and building materials. In 2018, the hemp industry generated $1.1 billion in revenue.

Industrial Hempgrowth, production, procurement, administration

What is Hemp Research?

Hemp or cannabis research can be defined as research that involves the growth, production, procurement, administration or use of industrial hemp. The term “cannabis” includes Cannabis spp., cannabinoid compounds (such as tetrahydrocannabinol and cannabidiol), and any cannabis derivatives or cannabimimetic agents whether they have been classified by the U.S. Congress as controlled substances under the Controlled Substances Act, or meet the definition of Industrial Hemp and have therefore been excluded from the Controlled Substances Act under the 2018 Farm Bill.

FAMU hemp research is subject to all applicable federal and State laws and regulations. The University recognizes and endeavors to facilitate the interest of faculty to conduct hemp research that has significant scientific merit and public health and/or agricultural commodity value in compliance with all applicable federal and State laws and regulations.


Essential Facts and Tips on Cultivation of Industrial Hemp in Florida

FAMU Industrial Hemp Pilot Partners