Commercial Industrial Hemp Registration Requirements

The California Department of Food & Agriculture (CDFA) along with the Industrial Hemp Advisory Board (IHAB) are responsible for the development of applicable regulations governing the commercial cultivation of hemp in California. The County Department of Agriculture / Weights & Measures is the local agency responsible for regulatory oversight and coordination of commercial industrial hemp cultivation in San Luis Obispo County. 

California State regulations went into effect on 4/25/2019 opening the registration process for the cultivation of commercial industrial hemp. However, due to the urgency ordinance on hemp cultivation recently enacted by the San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors, our Department is not currently accepting applications for industrial hemp cultivation for locations within the unincorporated portions of the county.

The information included below is being provided with the expectation that the commercial hemp registration process will again become available in San Luis Obispo County sometime during the 2020 calendar year. The commercial registration process is expected to be similar to the process described below but is provided as reference information only at this time and is subject to change at any time prior to or after the permanent ordinance takes effect.

On Tuesday, November 19, 2019, the County Planning Department released a Public Draft of the permanent industrial hemp ordinance. That public draft is now available for review (include link). Comments on the public draft should be submitted to the Planning Department no later than Thursday, December 19, 2019. Please see the Planning Department’s announcement for information on how to submit comments.


The registration fee and completed application must be submitted to the San Luis Obispo County Ag Commissioner’s Office:

  • Fee and application must be submitted in person during standard business hours at the Ag Commissioner’s San Luis Obispo Office (2156 Sierra Way, Suite A, SLO)
  • The $900 fee must be paid in the form of a check or cashier’s check made payable to “CDFA Cashier”
  • The registration application for commercial cultivators or commercial seed breeders must be complete and accurate. Applications are available to download on the CDFA website: under Forms.

Growers cannot legally plant industrial hemp until the application has been reviewed and approved by the Agricultural Commissioner’s Office. As described in the California Food & Agricultural Code, the Ag Commissioner shall issue a registration to the applicant after determining if the application meets requirements for registration. Our office will need up to ten working days to review submitted applications and determine if the application is in accordance with State law. All efforts will be made to assess the applications as quickly as possible, and growers will be directly notified upon approval.  


The following items will be assessed prior to issuing a registration to the applicant:

  1. The registration application is complete and accurate (as described in FAC 81003/81004).
  2. Confirmation that the variety of industrial hemp proposed to be grown meets the requirements listed for approved seed cultivars (as described in FAC 81002 & CCR 4920).
  3. Confirmation that planting has not occurred prior to the registration being issued by the SLO County Ag Commissioner’s Office: site visits of the proposed planting location may be made.
  4. Confirmation that the proposed planting area meets the size limitations described in State law
    (FAC 81006(a)).
  5. Signage indicating that the plot is industrial hemp is required by State law (as described in FAC 81006). It is recommended that signage be posted prior to planting. We will not delay issuing a registration for lack of signage, but it must be in place at the time of planting.
  6. For those plots proposed that occur over the Paso Robles Groundwater Basin, confirmation from the San Luis Obispo County Planning Department that the proposed planting meets the requirements of the County’s Ag Offset Ordinance as specifically determined for irrigated hemp cultivation. 


For growers who intend on selling industrial hemp seedlings, clones, cuttings, etc. for planting or propagation, a License to Sell Nursery Stock issued from CDFA is also required. Some seed breeders will also require a Nursery Stock license if they sell any type of seedlings or cuttings; seed breeders who only sell seeds and do not sell or ship other types of nursery stock do not require a nursery license but will likely require a CDFA application to sell seed.  





Industrial Hemp