License to Grow

Hemp Project Application Overview

There are two types of licenses available for non academic institutions who wish to grow or produce hemp as part of the Kentucky Hemp Research Pilot Project.  

Grower Licensing Agreement

Processor/Handler Licensing Agreement

The application period for both licenses is currently closed. Applications for 2019 licenses will open in mid-October and growers typically have 30 days to complete their application.  To be notified when the application opens email

The following is a discussion of the application requirements as reflected in the 2018 application, which are subject to change pending the release of the 2019 application. 

The 2018 application packets for Processor Licenses and Grower Licenses explain that a license may be issued in the name of an individual or a business entity. (PA at ii)(GA at ii).  The packets also explain that a criminal background check must be completed for each “applicant” and an “applicant” is either an individual seeking a license in their name, or an individual with Signing Authority for a business entity. (PA at ii; PA at v)(GA at ii; GA at iv).[1]  No licensee who has been convicted of a felony or any drug-related misdemeanor or violation in the previous ten years will be eligible to apply. KRS 260.862 (2)(e).  The application gives no indication that background checks are required for anyone other than the applicant (the applicant is either the person seeking a license as an individual, or the individual serving as the Signing Authority of a business applicant).  However, the statutes reference the licensee, not the applicant, when discussing penalties for non-compliance with the program. KRS 260.864. As a result, it is unclear whether the activities of someone other than the applicant, which result in drug related charges, could result in the revocation of the license.  It is likely that the activities of the business entity would be subjected to the list of prohibited activities set forth in KRS 260.862, because they are applicable to the licensee. It is unclear if the activities of individual entity owners, who are not signing authorities, would also be subjected to the prohibitions.

If the signing authority changes, during the application process or at any point after the licensing agreement has been signed, a change request must be submitted to the KDA and a new Singing Authority for Corporate Entities Form must be completed, along with a current background check and copy of the individual’s license.  (PA at ii)(GA at ii). 

Processors may apply for a one-year term, or a multiple year term.  (PA at 3, Question 6).  Grower applications must be submitted yearly. (GA at ii).   Each year all applicants (including producer applicants who are granted a multi-year license) must attend the KDA orientation.  (PA at iii) (GA at iii).  Kentucky State Police Background checks are also required annually for all applicants. (PA at iv)(GA at iv).

If a license is issued, a licensing agreement must be signed indicating that the licensee is an extension and acts on behalf of the KDA for purposes of conducting research. (PA at iii)(GA at iii).

We will address the prohibited activities for licenses in a future post.  If you are considering applying for a 2019 licensees, contact tour office to learn more. 

[1] A business entity seeking a license must select a Signing Authority and submit the Singing Authority for Corporate Entities Form, which gives the individual permission to make decisions for the company in all matters related to the hemp project. (PA at ii; PA at vi)(GA at 11; GA at vi). Only one Signing Authority is permitted per entity.  (PA at ii)(GA at ii).