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AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — Mainers who want to grow industrial hemp can apply for the 2018 growing season.

The Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry acknowledges that would-be hemp growers face barriers that make it tricky to grow the crop legally.

Maine has allowed industrial hemp since 2016. But federal law requires a permit for the cannabis plant, regardless of whether it’s grown for fiber or marijuana.

States and higher education institutions can seek permits for hemp grown for research purposes. But Maine’s agriculture department doesn’t plan to apply for such a permit, and isn’t aware of universities seeking a permit.

Maine law also requires industrial hemp growers to certify their seed source.

Despite such barriers, the department says it signed 33 agreements with hemp growers this year, up from two in 2016.