LINCOLN - The passage of the 2018 Farm Bill includes the Hemp Farming Act that allows all farmers, including those in Nebraska to grow industrial hemp legally.
Before farmers can take advantage of the bill they have to submit to the U.S. Department of Agriculture and pass an FBI background check.
Dr. Stuart Titus is president and CEO of Medical Marijuana Inc. and says that is on hold now due to the government shutdown. He says, “At this time with the slowdown and the shutdown of the government, this isn’t exactly helping matters for farmers but hopefully this is just be a very quick, little temporary glitch in the road and back to standard practices before too long here.”
is concern that if the shutdown isn’t resolved soon, the situation become a problem as farmers are making plans for the planting season now.
Titus says, “If farmers can’t get through the process as quickly as they would like, I still think there is a reasonable amount of time between April and May when they would be planting their seed but obviously if they can get through the process quickly they will be able to order their seed, etc. and be well prepared.”
Under the legislation, individuals with felony drug convictions are barred from participating in the industry for 10 years after the offense. The shutdown is also impacting the licensing process fro broader marijuana legalization or medical cannabis laws that involve the FBI recorded checks.
Titus says he is very excited about the passage of the Hemp Farming Act as it will be a rival for corn, wheat and soybeans. He expects a hemp futures market to be developed soon at the Chicago Board of Trade. He says hemp is an excellent rotation crop as it adds nutrients back to the soil. It is also very beneficial to farmers due to the number of industrial uses. Farmers can get multiple income streams from one crop.