Bill to legalize industrial hemp in Nebraska advances

A bill to legalize industrial hemp in Nebraska has won first-round approval from state lawmakers.

The measure advanced Monday on a 37-4 vote despite a filibuster waged by a senator who painted the bill as a step toward marijuana legalization.     

The proposal would allow farmers to grow and harvest hemp in Nebraska while imposing regulations as required by the 2018 U.S Farm Bill.     

The bill’s sponsor, Sen. Justin Wayne, of Omaha, says farmers and businesses are missing the opportunity to get into the hemp market and diversify their crops in a climate that’s well-suited for hemp.     

The proposal enjoys bipartisan support in the officially nonpartisan Legislature. Republican Gov. Pete Ricketts has said his administration was working with Wayne on it.     

Two additional votes are required before it goes to Ricketts.

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