Nebraska Weighing Bill to Permit Hemp Cultivation
LINCOLN, Neb. — Two months after President Donald Trump signed a law to legalize hemp, Nebraska lawmakers and state agency officials are working together to help farmers get a piece of the market.
Lawmakers heard public input Feb. 12, 2019, on a bill that would allow farmers to grow and harvest hemp in Nebraska. Many have eyed it as a way to diversify their crops, but the state hasn't developed a way to license and regulate it.
Sen. Justin Wayne told the Legislature's Agriculture Committee he introduced it because he believes farmers and businesses are missing the opportunity.
On his monthly radio call-in show, Republican Gov. Pete Ricketts said his administration is working with Wayne. Ricketts has previously said his hands were tied because hemp had been classified as an illegal and dangerous drug.
The 2018 Farm Bill removed hemp from the Federal Controlled Substances Act, and entitles farmers to cover hemp like any other crop under the Federal Crop Insurance Act. Hemp is defined as cannabis containing less than 0.3 percent THC. Trump signed the Farm Bill Dec. 20, 2018.
Oklahoma's Medical Marijuana Sales Figure Quadruple in January
OKLAHOMA CITY — Numbers from the Oklahoma Tax Commission show medical marijuana sales topped $4.3 million in January 2019, a fourfold increase from the previous month.
The agency released figures on Feb. 12, 2019, that show the 7 percent tax on medical marijuana sales generated $305,265 in January. That figure doesn't include the standard sales tax that varies from city to city that is also being assessed on medical cannabis sales.
Oklahoma voters approved State Question 788 to legalize medical marijuana in June 2018, and the industry has taken off quickly. Nearly 44,000 Oklahoma patients, 950 dispensaries and 1,600 growers have been licensed since August 2018.
The Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority also has generated more than $13 million in licensing fees.
Kentucky Governor Says He'll Enact Medical Marijuana Legalization
STANFORD, Ky. — Republican Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin said he would be happy to sign a bill to make marijuana legal for medical purposes.
Bevin told a community forum in Stanford, Kentucky, on Feb. 12, 2019, his teenage nephew died after battling cancer. He said his nephew suffered near the end of his life, suggesting medical marijuana can provide relief to people experiencing similar pain.
Bevin said his support for a bill legalizing medical marijuana would depend on how the bill is written, adding he would be opposed to a bill written solely to raise money for the state's general fund.
Republican state Sen. Stephen West filed SB 170 on Feb. 12 that would make medical marijuana legal in Kentucky. He said the bill is identical to HB 136, filed by Republican Rep. Jason Nemes.