Bill Would Allow Nebraskans To Grow and Sell Hemp

By  | 

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) -- In the new farm bill that just passed, it allows states to use industrial hemp as a commodity and senator Norm Wallman says this could open up a whole new opportunity for Nebraska.

"It was grown prior to World War I and it was legal and then somehow it was against the law to grow it. So I think it's a win win situation for Nebraska," said Wallman.

LB 1001 would allow industrial hemp to be planted, grown, harvest and sold in the state.

"I think it can really help small America and that's why I introduced it and hopefully it can help somebody," said Wallman.

Organic farmer Bill Hawkins says this potential new crop of hemp could bring a boost to Nebraska's economy.

"Gives us a chance to compete on a level playing field both nationally and internationally with this new emerging industry," said Hawkins.

However, Grant County Sheriff Shawn Hebbert points out some potential concerns on this bill.

"We do have hemp in Western Nebraska it grows all over the state, some of the questions we have is how is this going to be regulated? How is this going to affect the farmers and ranchers who already have this growing," said Hebbert. "Is it going to be a public health concern if one of these fields catches on fire."

If a farmer wants to plant this hemp they would have to pass a criminal history check and pay $150 dollars for a license.

"It's unlimited on the products and local jobs that we can create with this valuable drought-resistant crop," said Hawkins.

This industrial hemp can only contain less than 1-percent THC. The committee took no action on this bill.