West Virginia Hemp Bill Signed into law by Governor Jim Justice

A West Virginia industrial hemp bill has been signed into law by the state’s governor.

Governor Jim Justice signed House Bill 2453 into law yesterday, expanding a state law that allows hemp to be grown for research purposes, to also allow hemp to be grown commercially. The proposal was passed by both the House and Senate unanimously; the combined vote was 133 to 0, with just one member of the state’s legislature not voting.

The full text of the measure, filed by Delegate John Shott (R), is found below:


AN ACT to amend and reenact §19-12E-5 of the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, relating to expanding the list of persons the Commissioner of Agriculture may license to grow or cultivate industrial hemp.

Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:

That §19-12E-5 of the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, be amended and reenacted to read as follows:


  • 19-12E-5.  Industrial hemp – licensing.

(a) A person growing industrial hemp for commercial purposes shall apply to the commissioner for license on a form prescribed by the commissioner.

(b) The application for a license must include the name and address of the applicant and the legal description of the land area to be used for the production of industrial hemp.

(c) The commissioner shall require each first-time applicant for a license to file a set of the applicant=s fingerprints, taken by a law-enforcement officer, and any other information necessary to complete a statewide and nationwide criminal history check with the criminal investigation bureau of the department of justice for state processing and with the Federal Bureau of Investigation for federal processing.  All of the costs associated with the criminal history check are the responsibility of the applicant.  Criminal history records provided to the department under this section are confidential. The commissioner may use the records only to determine if an applicant is eligible to receive a license for the production of industrial hemp.

(d) If the applicant has completed the application process to the satisfaction of the commissioner, the commissioner shall issue the license which is valid until December 31, of the year of application.  An individual licensed under this section is presumed to be growing industrial hemp for commercial purposes.

(e) Notwithstanding any provision of this article, rule or the provisions of chapter sixty-a of this code to the contrary, the Commissioner of Agriculture may license qualified persons and state institutions of higher learning to lawfully grow or cultivate industrial hemp in this state, but institutions of higher learning may only lawfully grow industrial hemp for research and educational purposes.

You can also click here for the full text of House Bill 2453.

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