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April 20, 2021

Those wanting to grow, process, breed, or research hemp in Minnesota in 2021 must apply for a license with the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) by April 30. To date, over 370 people have applied for an MDA license.

The online application for growers and processors can be found on the MDA website at Along with the online form, first-time applicants need to submit fingerprints and pass a criminal background check.

This is the sixth year of the state’s Industrial Hemp Program. Last year, 542 people held licenses to grow or process hemp. Over 5,800 acres and 1.46 million indoor square feet were planted in Minnesota.

The 2018 Federal Farm Bill legalized hemp as an agricultural commodity. Last year, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) released a final rule that outlined state and tribal plans for growing the crop. Minnesota is operating under a federally approved plan that governs production and regulations. Prior to 2021, Minnesota had been working under a pilot program.

Anyone growing on tribal lands within a reservation’s boundaries or other lands under tribal jurisdiction (e.g., trust lands off-reservation) must obtain a license from the tribe or the USDA if the tribe does not have an approved hemp production plan.

Questions about the MDA’s Hemp Program should be sent to or 651-201-6600.


Industrial hemp and marijuana are both types of the same plant, Cannabis sativa. They differ by the concentration level of the psychoactive compound tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) within the plant. Hemp has less than 0.3% THC, and levels above that are considered marijuana.

Minnesota Industrial Hemp Program Licensing and Acreage Statistics

Licensing and Acreage 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020
Approved Applicants 7 47 65 505 542
Licensed Growers 6 33 43 350 461
Licensed Processors- Processing Only 0 5 8 49 77
Outdoor Acres Planted 38 1,202 709 7,353 5,808
Indoor Square Feet Planted 0 0 54,618 40,304 1,460,328



Media Contact
Allen Sommerfeld, MDA Communications