Nebraska needs to remove hemp production from its criminal statutes, according to those who point to the nation’s new Farm Bill. It legalizes hemp production. At the state capitol Wednesday, the Legislature’s Judiciary Committee heard lots of support, and no opposition, to removing industrial hemp from Nebraska’s list of controlled substances.

Just a few weeks ago, Congress passed the new Farm Bill, making industrial hemp production legal.

State Senator Steve Lathrop of Omaha appeared to promote his bill, LB 457, saying the state’s farmers deserve a chance to compete.

“[It] helps ensure Nebraska doesn’t get left behind in an area where our state should have a competitive advantage,” Lathrop testified.

Lathrop said the legislature needs to decriminalize hemp, then pass regulations, in order to avoid interfering with interstate commerce. Lathrop also testified saying the state needs to remove it from the criminal statutes so county attorneys don’t have to prosecute those who do it.

One concern that testifiers debated was the worry that police won’t be able to tell industrial hemp from recreational marijuana. Andrew Bish, a business owner who testified before the Legislature’s Judiciary committee Wednesday said that’s not a problem.

“Testing is not expensive. Most labs today do this for under $50 per test – even less if only the THC content is being sought. Anyone who is saying otherwise is not being forthright,” Bish told the committee.

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