Information for prospective growers of low THC cannabis (industrial hemp), for the production of seed and fibre only.
Controlled drugs are drugs named in misuse of drugs legislation. Cannabis is a Class B controlled drug listed in Schedule 1 of the Misuse of Drugs Regulations 2001 and in the Misuse of Drugs Designation Order 2015.
If your company or organisation want to cultivate industrial hemp you need to apply for a controlled drugs domestic licence.
If you are a new or existing grower read our hemp factsheet for information on the licensing process for industrial hemp.
Licences for industrial hemp are generally valid for 3 growing seasons. The licence only allows for the industrial use of the seed and fibre, which are non-controlled parts of the hemp plant. The licence does not allow for the use of the flowers or leaves (‘green’ or controlled materials).
Before you apply
Read the industrial hemp application guidance to help you apply.
To apply, you first need to register as a customer on the controlled drugs licensing system. If your application is successful, you will receive a username and password. You do not need to register again each time you apply.
If you have forgotten your login details or need your password reset, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
You must make sure that each person named on the application form holds a valid Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check. The DBS check must be done by Security Watchdog. You can contact them on 01420 558 752 to apply for one. If you have a DBS check by another company, we cannot accept your certificate.
If you, or anyone named on the application, already has a DBS check in place for drug licensing purpose dated 3 years or older from Security Watchdog you will need to apply for a new DBS check.
If you have subscribed to the DBS update service, you should include this information in your licence application.
Apply for an industrial hemp licence
Apply for an industrial hemp licence.
Our fees cover the costs of processing an application and are charged per licensing decision so different fee levels may apply. The fee levels are set out in the Misuse of Drugs Regulations 2010. Read the full list of fees for controlled drugs licences.
After you apply
If your controlled drugs licence is approved, you will receive an email with instructions for payment. We will not issue your licence until the fee is paid. Once you have paid, the licence will be sent by post.
If you cancel your application
We consider how much to charge for cancellations case by case.
You may be charged any costs already owed, relating to administration, travel or accommodation arrangements, if:
- you cancel a compliance visit more than 48 hours after it is confirmed
- you request to change the time or date of a compliance visit more than 48 hours after it is confirmed
- you cancel your application after you receive an outcome from us
We may also ask for our administrative costs to be paid within 10 working days. We can email you extra information about these costs.
Annual hemp grower statement
As a licensed industrial hemp grower, you must submit an annual hemp grower statement by 1 May each year.
Thefts and losses
Licence no longer needed
If your company no longer needs a controlled drugs licence you will need to submit a controlled drugs licence return premises closure statement. Even if you continue to trade but no longer handle controlled drugs you will need to submit a statement.
You can read details of how we handle your personal information.
or call 020 7035 8972
This address deals with domestic (UK) controlled substance licenses including precursor chemicals, applications, renewals, compliance visits, thefts and losses, surrender or returning licence, or general enquiries about domestic licensing.