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Legal hemp closer to reality in Nebraska

Posted at 10:16 PM, Apr 18, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-18 23:16:44-04

BELLEVUE, Neb. (KMTV) — A bill legalizing hemp in Nebraska passed easily on first reading and is on track to become law.

"It's going to give the public a bit more peace of mind to come in so I think it'll definitely grow the business,” says Jeff Queen, who owns two American Shaman stores in the metro.

But it's not a done deal yet.

While hemp doesn't get you high, it does have a small amount of THC in it, that led four state senators to vote against the bill.

They're worried about it becoming a slippery slope to legal weed.

"They get the hemp authorized first and then medical marijuana and then recreational marijuana,” says state senator Robert Clements.

Owner of two CBD shops Jeff Queen doesn't buy the argument.

"If you think the people of Nebraska don't want medical or recreational marijuana, then when those come up, vote them down,” says Queen.

The hemp bill has plenty of regulations.

Growers must register with the state, anybody that handles the crop needs to be licensed, the product can have no more than 0.3 percent of THC, and the state can test the crop anytime they want.

Other than CBD products, hemp can be made into plastics, clothes, rope and even fuel.

That's why many believe there's a market for the crop.and that the Nebraska ag industry could be revitalized by it.

"Crop prices are down, farmers are looking for a way to make ends meet, stay on the farm and keep their families on the farm,” says Bill Archord, President of Nebraska Hemp Association.

"This is going to be a new cash crop that the farmers can benefit from,” says Queen.

As for Queen's Bellevue store. Last year the Sarpy County Attorney threatened to shut it down, but Queen says the heat is off for now, at least until lawmakers in Lincoln figure out what to do with the controversial plant.