11.50 – Hemp Research, Extension, and Outreach Activities

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Scope: NMSU System

Source: ARP Administrative Rules and Procedures Chapter 11 | Research and Intellectual Property

Responsible Executive: Provost & Chief Academic Officer

Responsible Administrator:

Last Updated: 08/13/2019



NMDA Hemp Cultivation Rules

Revision History:

09/01/2023 Title change from "Chancellor" to "President" 
08/13/2019 Adoption of Rule, as amended, approved by Chancellor
07/29/2019 Provisional Rule implemented by Chancellor


The purpose of this rule is to further the state’s interest in implementation of its Hemp Manufacturing Act, and to provide New Mexico State University (NMSU) employees with guidance on permissible research, extension and outreach regarding hemp, consistent with both state and federal law as it continues to be developed.  For New Mexico law and regulations on hemp cultivation, see NMDA Hemp Registration.



Hemp:  For purposes of these guidelines, hemp is defined the same as in the 2018 Farm Bill Act:  the plant Cannabis sativa L. and any part of the plant, whether growing or not, that contains a delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) concentration of not more than 0.3 percent on a dry weight basis.



NMSU faculty may only perform research that involves hemp if such research complies with federal guidelines and state law. Hemp related research may be conducted pursuant to either the (1) Controlled Substance Act or (2) the 2014 and 2018 Farm Bills:

  1. Controlled Substance Act: Researchers may obtain a controlled substances registration number from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA).  In such cases, the researcher would:
    1. Register with the DEA and obtain a Schedule I registration number for the possession, use, or distribution of industrial hemp in accordance with the DEA requirements for marijuana. Upon receipt of registration number, the researcher must register with the New Mexico Board of Pharmacy.
    2. Obtain research-grade hemp from a DEA-approved distributor.
  2. 2014 and 2018 U.S. Farm Bills: Researchers may also conduct hemp research under the federal Farm Bills of 2014 and 2018. The Farm Bill of 2014 allows institutions of higher education in a state in which such activities are legalized “…to grow or cultivate industrial hemp for purposes of research conducted under an agricultural pilot program or other agricultural or academic research.” For an NMSU researcher to grow, cultivate, or conduct research on industrial hemp under the Farm Bill, the research must be for the purpose of agricultural or academic research, and activities must take place within the state of New Mexico.
    1. Hemp Cultivation Research Requirements:
      1. Principal investigators (PI) are responsible for obtaining a license from NMDA prior to possession of viable seed, plants, cuttings, etc.
      2. Prior to purchase or possession of material to be planted, obtain a certificate of analysis, (based solely on bud and flower, not biomass) demonstrating the source plants for seed, plants, and cuttings meet the definition of hemp measured post-decarboxylated for gas chromatography (GC), or delta 9THC + (.877 * tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCA)) for liquid chromatography (LC)).
      3. No NMSU employee may be required to participate in hemp research. Before working with hemp, an employee will be asked to acknowledge in writing the potential risks associated with the political and legal landscapes relating to hemp, as well as the complexities involved with its cultivation. For employees under the age of 18, permission from their legal guardian will be required.
      4. Cultivation of hemp may only take place in counties, noxious weed districts, cities or other political subdivision that allow for its cultivation.
      5. PIs are responsible for transportation of samples to laboratories. NMSU must not transport hemp outside of the state of New Mexico. NMSU employees must have a copy of a valid cultivation license issued by NMDA in their possession at all times when transporting raw hemp (seeds, plants, flower/bud etc.). NMSU employees are not permitted to transport hemp belonging to any third party.  Staff participating in hemp related research must be informed that the handling of hemp plants may result in travel complications where drug dogs may be working.
      6. Upon initiation of buds and flowers, PIs must test each cultivar at least once every 10 days to determine compliance with THC levels. Non-compliant plants must be destroyed immediately.
      7. Non-compliant cultivars must be destroyed using a method developed in conjunction with Environmental Health Safety and Risk Management and NMSU police. Cannabis sativa with a THC concentration of greater than 0.3% (marijuana) is a controlled substance.
      8. PIs must keep copies of all cultivar tests and make them available to NMDA upon request.
      9. PIs must keep a record of destruction of non-compliant plants. The record must include the name of the plant variety, the number of plants destroyed, the date of destruction and the method of destruction.
      10. If cultivation is going to take place on land owned or controlled by NMSU, the PI must obtain a letter from the President authorizing the cultivation of hemp on NMSU property.
    2. Acquisition of Hemp from Third Parties: The following are requirements for NMSU researchers to obtain hemp, that will not be cultivated, from a third party:
      1. All hemp specimens must be certified independently by an NMDA approved lab, and be cultivated in New Mexico consistent with New Mexico law or from a federal DEA-approved distributor.
      2. All specimens must be accompanied by a Certificate of Analysis, (based solely on bud and flower, not biomass) demonstrating the source plants for seed, plants, and cuttings meet the definition of hemp measured post-decarboxylated for GC, or delta 9THC + (.877 * THCA) for LC).



  1. NMSU’s Cooperative Extension Service (CES) may provide information to farmers cultivating hemp who are registered with the NMDA. To ensure compliance with these guidelines, Extension employees must obtain a copy of the hemp grower’s NMDA-issued license before any services are provided. CES must obtain a release from the farmer cultivating hemp releasing NMSU from liability related to NMSU’s advice and any potential impact on the THC concentration of the crop.
  2. CES must not provide assistance for marijuana growers. NMSU employees may answer general crop questions such as what types of pesticides are safe to use on plants grown for human consumption, what types of insecticides are effective on a variety of crops for controlling a specific pest, or what type of protective personal gear are recommended when handling pesticides.
  3. CES is prohibited from transporting hemp for any third party.



The NMSU Plant Diagnostic Clinic may accept hemp samples for identification of insect and disease problems provided the sample is accompanied by an NMDA issued hemp grower’s license.  Following conclusion of diagnostic tests, all hemp samples will be disposed of as any other plant samples.



Principal Investigators (PI) conducting hemp research involving human subjects or animals are subject to the following additional requirements:

  1. Coordination with RAS: PI’s must coordinate with Research Administration Services regarding protocols involving humans or animals. The Institutional Review Board (IRB) assists researchers and reviews protocols for research with human subjects. The Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) provides guidance and reviews protocols for activities involving live vertebrate animals.
  2. Coordination with FDA:
    1. For research with humans or animals relating to clinical drugs, cosmetics, or food additives to be marketed with a claim of therapeutic benefit, the PI must apply for an investigational new drug (IND) application by contacting the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Additional information can be found on FDA webpages.
    2. The FDA strongly recommends preliminary discussions with PIs at the protocol preparation phase regarding regulatory requirements to avoid delays and non-compliance from incomplete or incorrect procedures.
  3. IACUC Approval: For research involving animals, the PI must obtain Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) approval.



  1. Funding Source:
    1. In addition to the standard issues that may arise for any research funding, the source of funding (federal or state agencies, non-profit organizations, industry and private individuals) is important when conducting research on hemp. Additional scrutiny is required to assure that NMSU is not receiving any funding derived from illegal activities.  Due to the nexus between hemp and marijuana, it is critical that NMSU not accept funds derived from the sale of marijuana.
    2. The source of all funds for hemp research must be investigated and approved by NMSU’s Research Administration Services before applying for, or accepting hemp related funding, including funding provided as gifts or donations.
  2. Form of Payment: All hemp research funds must come in the form of a check (no cash or money orders may be accepted).