Nebraska’s Restrictive Approach to Hemp Legalization
It’s been interesting to watch Nebraska’s approach to hemp legalization. First, we have to acknowledge that we have an out-of-state perspective, we’re pro-hemp farmer, and we have a couple of Nebraska-based friends who run large farming operations and hoped to grow hemp in 2019.
Second, we understand and empathize with the concern in Nebraska and elsewhere that hemp is the nose of the camel, and the camel itself is marijuana.
But fundamentally, it appears that the Nebraska legislature passed a hemp legalization bill with substantial support, and the governor begrudgingly signed it into law … then ensured that the Department of Agriculture implemented the legislation in a manner that kept the # of hemp acres grown in Nebraska in 2019 to an absolute minimum.
The Critical Role of Your Department Of Agriculture
All this reaffirms our belief in the importance of the relationship between a state’s overall farmer/producer community, the subset of that community that is growing hemp, and that state’s executive branch and specifically, its department of agriculture. The support, indifference or hostility of a state’s executive branch and department of agriculture will be a key factor in the evolution of that state’s hemp industry.
Fundamentally, do they view their role as one of industry support, industry compliance or industry enforcement? In Nebraska in 2019, the restrictive approach appears to have pushed back at least 1 year the timeline for producers to “get their feet wet” with this new crop.