Industrial Hemp Program

Industrial Hemp LeavesIndustrial hemp is a crop that is limited to types of the plant Cannabis sativa L. having no more than three-tenths of 1 percent tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) contained in the dried flowering tops, whether growing or not; the seeds of the plant; the resin extracted from any part of the plant; and every compound, manufacture, salt, derivative, mixture, or preparation of the plant, its seeds or resin produced therefrom. Cultivation of Industrial Hemp is allowed in Merced County as long as such cultivation complies with all applicable laws, regulations, and county ordinance. The Agricultural Commissioner’s Office works in cooperation with the Sheriff’s Office and the Community and Economic Development Department in the enforcement of laws, regulations, and county ordinances affecting the cultivation of industrial hemp. The Agricultural Commissioner’s Office conducts site inspections, testing, and dispositions of compliant/non-compliant cultivations.

In Merced County, prospective hemp cultivators must first obtain a Merced County Hemp license prior to submitting and obtaining a required California Department of Food and Agriculture hemp cultivation registration. Prior to registering, please review the Merced County's Ordinance No. 1972.

Merced County Industrial Hemp Licensing and Registration Process

Merced County Industrial Hemp Registration Process

  1. Applicant submits completed Industrial Hemp License application to Agricultural Commissioner (AC) for review.  This includes a map of the proposed cultivation site with setbacks (if applicable), APN number, and a deed holder permission if the site is not owned by the cultivator.
  2. After initial review, AC forwards application for review by Community and Economic Development Department (CED) for compliance with Merced County Industrial Hemp Code (9.31).
  3. CED reviews application, denies or approves application, and forwards reviewed license to AC. 
  4. If denied, AC informs applicant of reason for denial and/or possible corrective actions.  If approved, applicant will sign a compliance agreement and CDFA registration application.
  5. AC reviews the CDFA registration application to ensure all requirements are met.
  6. After review, applicant submits a surety bond and $900.00 CDFA registration fee.  AC submits application to CDFA.  Applicant is considered licensed for 1 year.