Where Is Industrial Hemp Legal?

46 countries allow the cultivation of industrial hemp for research and other use. However, only a handful have gone the extra mile to legalize industrial hemp.  In countries where industrial hemp has been legalized for industrial use, residents are allowed to cultivate hemp commercially but they need to adhere to certain regulations. This article reviews seven countries where industrial hemp is legal.

Why Industrial Hemp Is Illegal In Many Countries

Industrial hemp is illegal in many countries due to its association with its cousin plant marijuana. Both plants are from the same species of Cannabis Sativa. However, marijuana has high amounts of the psychoactive compound delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). THC causes euphoria and dependence in the long run; hence it is a scheduled substance in most countries. Industrial hemp contains a small amount of THC. In countries where industrial hemp has been legalized, the THC content is regulated and has to be less a very small percentage. In the US it is less equal to or less than 0.3%.

Where Is Industrial Hemp Legal In The US

The 2018 Farm Bill removed hemp from the Controlled Substances Act and consequently made it legal in the US. However, certain restrictions are still maintained on the cultivation of industrial hemp in the US.

In the US, industrial hemp is legal in all states under federal law. However, the Farm Bill allows the autonomy of states and so far Idaho, Mississippi, South Dakota, and New Hampshire have banned the cultivation of industrial hemp.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has regulatory oversight over the cultivation of industrial hemp in the US. The USDA issued an interim ruling on the cultivation of hemp in the US in October 2019.  The ruling states that industrial hemp can be transported from one state to another. This also applies when one of the states does not allow the cultivation of industrial hemp. The final ruling will be set later in 2020, after the crop season.

Other Countries Where Industrial Hemp Is Legal


Industrial hemp was legalized in Switzerland in 2016. The government has set a threshold of 1% THC for legal hemp, anything above this is illegal.


Uruguay was the first country to legalize all forms of cannabis: industrial, medicinal, and recreational. Consequently, the laws governing the production of industrial hemp are not so stringent.

To cultivate industrial hemp one has to apply for a license from the Uruguay government.


China produces almost 70% of the world’s hemp. This is a strong indication that industrial hemp is legal in the country, even though the law does not clear indicate this.

Chinese industrial hemp is exported for fiber and industrial use. Other forms of cannabis are prohibited in this country.


Industrial hemp is legal in Canada. Interest in industrial hemp started as far back as the 1980s to provide an alternative source of fiber and offer employment. In the 1990s, research was conducted on industrial hemp as a separate entity from marijuana. At this point, industrial hemp was cultivated for research purposes. In 1998 industrial hemp for commercial purposes was legalized in Canada. The first license to cultivate industrial hemp for commercial purposes was issued in May 1998.

Canada was the first G7 nation to legalize recreational cannabis. Thus the laws governing industrial hemp are not so stringent.


Industrial hemp is legal in France, as long as it does not contain more than 0.02% THC. However, the flowers of the hemp plant cannot be used as this is illegal. Only the fiber from the plants and the seeds can be used for industrial purposes commercially.

As it is France is the world’s second-largest producer of industrial hemp, it is Europe’s largest producer.


Industrial Hemp is legal in the UK as long as it contains less than 0.2% THC. However, only certain parts of the plants can be processed for commercial use; the stems/ stalks and seeds. The rest of the plant has to be legally disposed of. These parts (leaves and flowers) are likely to have significant amounts of cannabinoids such as THC and cannabidiol (THC).

Hemp farmers in the UK obtain licenses from the Home Office to cultivate industrial hemp.

Industrial hemp is legal in these six countries. Let us know if we left out any information that you would like to share with us.