- Chambliss: Downed jet ultimately goes back to Putin
- Perdue strategy: Run against Reid, Obama, Pelosi
- White House: More changes to contraception mandate coming
- ‘Operation Normandy’ set to send 3,500 volunteers to border to ‘stop an invasion’
- Netanyahu’s spokesman: Safe to fly to Israel
- Oregon vandals smear cars with doughnuts, pastries, chocolate bars
- Obama’s ‘Katrina moment’ leaves his favorability factor at 42 percent
- Feds tout nearly 200 arrests, $625K in seized cash in Texas border crackdown
- Joy Behar: Sarah Palin should be ‘turning letters over on some game show’
- Rhino poacher in South Africa sentenced to 77 years in jail
Lawmaker backs allowing production of hemp
Question of the Day
BEATRICE, Neb. (AP) - Some write off hemp as a plant too similar to marijuana to be useful, but at least one Nebraska State Senator sees potential for an additional cash crop that could bring added revenue to Nebraska farmers.
Dist. 30 Sen. Norman Wallman of Cortland has introduced LB1001, which would allow farmers to become licensed to grow industrial hemp.
Hemp is often regarded as a cousin plant to marijuana, though hemp has low levels of THC, the ingredient in marijuana that makes users high.
“It’s an alternative crop if farmers want to do something like this,” Wallman told the Beatrice Daily Sun (http://bit.ly/1e9YSTz). “It uses a lot less water than corn. It could be grown where there’s less rainfall and irrigation. I think it could definitely be profitable for smaller producers.”
Hemp is used in several products including clothing, rope, food and lotions.
In 2011, the U.S. imported $11.5 million worth of legal hemp products, much of which comes from China, up from $1.4 million in 2010.
Wallman sees potential for industrial hemp production in Nebraska, but emphasized he has no intention of allowing the useful plant to be a gateway to also legalizing marijuana use.
“This bill is about agriculture,” Wallman said. “It’s not a gateway to legalizing recreational marijuana. It’s not a new thing, and industrial hemp is completely different form marijuana.”
Industrial hemp is illegal under federal law, although legalizing the measure is pending in the proposed farm bill.
District 17 Sen. Dave Bloomfield who cosigned the bill isn’t sure how far it will go in the legislature this year, but said it’s worth taking a look at if allowing the product to be grown in Nebraska would help farmers and eliminate the need to import hemp products.
“I believe it’s time we had the conversation about a farm crop that is quite viable,” Bloomfield said. “I don’t pretend to ever foresee hemp replacing corn as a cash crop in Nebraska, but it could be an alternative in some areas.
“As soon as you say ‘industrial hemp’ a lot of people jump to the marijuana conclusion, and we shouldn’t think that. We used to grow (hemp) all over the country, then decided we shouldn’t anymore but still import the products. Why in the world would we not grow our own?”
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, nine states - California, Colorado, Kentucky, Maine, Montana, North Dakota, Oregon, Vermont and West Virginia - currently have laws promoting the growth and marketing of industrial hemp.
If adopted, Wallman said the bill would come with its share of restrictions to prevent misuse, such as requiring an annual permit from the Department of Agriculture, a $150 permit fee, a legal description of the land and background checks preventing anyone with a criminal background from growing industrial hemp.
As of Thursday, a hearing date was yet to be set for the bill.
TWT Video Picks
Retailer pays a price for getting too close to Obama
- CARSON: Costco and the perils of mixing politics and business
- David Perdue defeats Jack Kingston in Georgia Republican Senate primary runoff
- IRS seeks help destroying another 3,200 computer hard drives
- Beretta moving to Tennessee over Maryland gun laws
- D.C. appeals panel deals big blow to Obamacare subsidies
- 'Straight White Guy Festival' supposedly set for Ohio park
- HURT: The cost of 'free' water in Detroit
- EDITORIAL: Obamacare in intensive care
- Pentagon team dispatched to Ukraine amid crisis with Russia
- Contrasting judgments on Obama's health care hours apart; appeals court calls subsidies unlawful
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world
Fighting in Iraq