Hemp supporters rally at Capitol

 Posted By: Camila Orti

corti@klkntv.com

Hemp supporters are excited to get the ball rolling in Nebraska.

Earlier this year, legislators passed a bill allowing the cultivation of industrial hemp for research. Friday, supporters gathered at the Capitol to discuss what’s next.

“This morning we actually had a chance to fly an American flag actually made of industrial hemp,” Jason Feldman with the Neb. Hemp Industries Association said.

A flag made entirely of hemp has been making its way around the U.S. to states that have passed hemp legislation. This morning it flew in front of the State Capitol.

“We’re one of the states who has a chance to actually make massive changes and create a new industry for hemp,” Feldman said.

Feldman says he’s eager to get research going as fast as possible to create a hemp variety that’s suitable for the state’s climate.

Hemp is a cousin of marijuana, with only a tiny fraction of the psychoactive properties found in the depressant drug. Hemp is used to make hundreds of products imported by the U.S. like fabric and lotion, it’s even used to treat epilepsy.

State Senator Sue Crawford says heavy federal restrictions on anything related to marijuana make medical hemp hard to get.

“Currently CBD hemp is classified as a schedule 1 drug, cutting off access for thousands of patients suffering from intractable seizures,” Crawford said.

Crawford is working on a bill for next session that would address this issue. Meanwhile, Feldman and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln are waiting on the Dept. of Agriculture to decide how they can research and grow the plant in Nebraska. The department has until October to decide what their rules are.

Those in opposition think hemp research could eventually lead to the legalization of marijuana.