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Nebraska becomes one of the first states with USDA approval for hemp rules


Lincoln, Nebraska State Capitol. Wikimedia Commons

Confusion has been a major sticking point of many states’ press to legalize and encourage hemp cultivation and trade among farmers and industrialists.


After the 2018 Farm Bill legalized industrial hemp, one might think only blue skies remained for canna-businesses, but the impulse is mistaken. Federal agencies have released conflicting guidance in the time since, and only a limited number of state governments have solidified federal approval for their regulatory approaches.


The most recent of these states is Nebraska.


According to the Omaha World-Herald, officials at the U.S. Department of Agriculture signed off on Nebraska’s hemp plans early last week. [1]


The plan will allow for 270 growers’ licenses, 30 processing licenses and 15 retailer licenses. It also creates a new governmental oversight body, the Nebraska Hemp Commission.


“Now that [Nebraska Department of Agriculture] has an approved state hemp plan in place, we can begin issuing licenses for the commercial cultivation, processing, handling and brokering of industrial hemp in Nebraska,” Nebraska Agriculture Director Steve Wellman told the World-Herald. [1]


The new rules in the state were passed last year as LB657, and the bill was signed into law as the Nebraska Hemp Farming Act by Gov. Pete Ricketts. [4]


Nebraska is not alone in its success to win over the folks at the USDA.


In late December, Louisiana’s agricultural regulators became the first department in the U.S. to receive the rubber stamp from the USDA. [2]


Next month, Louisiana will field and evaluate the bulk of 2020 applications for industrial hemp cultivation within the state.


“Our Industrial Hemp program administrators have worked very hard to ensure the state regulatory framework was in place as soon as feasibly possible,” Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry Commissioner Mike Strain told local ABC affiliate KATC 3. “I am pleased that we remain on track to issue licenses for the 2020 planting season.” [2]


Unlike Nebraska’s three-category regulation, Louisiana’s rules break license-holders into four categories: Growers, processors, seed producers and contract carriers or haulers. [2]


Sources

[1] https://www.omaha.com/news/federal-officials-approve-nebraska-s-hemp-rules-licensing-process-for/article_2d0c7945-9892-5076-9ee4-f357288e7fda.html

[2] https://www.nothingbuthemp.net/post/in-louisiana-feds-approve-state-hemp-regulations-for-the-first-time

[3] https://northplattebulletin.com/nebraskas-plan-for-hemp-crops-approved-by-usda/

[4] https://nda.nebraska.gov/hemp/

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