Keeping up with CBD and cannabis laws can be tricky. Trust us – it’s our job! The situation is ever-changing, and it can be complicated deciphering regulations in different states.
The federal government is reluctant to change its stance on marijuana, which has been a banned substance since the early 20th century. CBD is a little more accepted. Either way, it’s up to individual states to have the final say. With different regulations in every state – and those regulations changing by the week – it’s hard to figure out what’s going on.
Nebraska is a state that has maintained a relatively strict stance against cannabis and CBD. Slowly, things are looking up for cannabis advocates in the Cornhusker State. Let’s find out more about the current situation with marijuana and CBD products in Nebraska.
Read on to learn everything you need to know.
Is Marijuana Legal in Nebraska?
Cannabis plants have a long history in Nebraska. When settlers arrived in North America, they often planted hemp on their land. For those who don’t know, hemp is a species of the cannabis plant that doesn’t produce large quantities of the psychoactive cannabinoid, THC.
Records from the USDA indicate that hemp was planted in Nebraska in 1887 by settlers from Illinois. Traditionally, farmers grew hemp for cloth and textiles.
In 1927, the state of Nebraska banned cannabis. Not only did this ban prohibit marijuana, but it also led to rapid decline of hemp production. Throughout America, the prohibition of marijuana led to a gray area for hemp cultivation, and it all but died out.
Ever since the 1920s, Nebraska has maintained its anti-cannabis stance. To this day, possession is illegal, but decriminalization means that penalties are not as harsh as they used to be. In 1969, Nebraska eased the restrictions to mean that first-time possession is not a serious offense. It can still land you with up to seven days in jail.
A few years back, the neighboring state of Colorado legalized cannabis recreationally. Nebraska law enforcement subsequently noted an 11% increase in marijuana arrests. In a strange turn of events, Nebraska (along with Oklahoma) attempted to sue Colorado in the Supreme Court. The Court intervened and denied the request to proceed with the lawsuit.
To complicate matters further, some counties are more receptive to marijuana than others. A handful of attorneys take the view that minor cannabis offenses are not worth prosecuting, while others take a much harsher stance.
It seems that marijuana in Nebraska is a bit all over the place. However, there is a growing push for the state to legalize medical use of the herb.
MMJ in Nebraska
At the time of writing, medical marijuana use in Nebraska remains prohibited. The Cannabis Compassion and Care Act was proposed in 2015, which would have permitted marijuana concentrates for therapeutic purposes. Suggested medical conditions included HIV/AIDS, glaucoma, and cancer.
In 2016, a Senate filibuster blocked the bill. As a result, Nebraska is still suffering from a lack of MMJ.
The fight continues, however. On July 2, 2020, an organization called Nebraskans for Medical marijuana submitted a petition to the secretary of state. Over 182,000 Nebraskan voters signed the petition, suggesting growing support for MMJ in the state.
While medical marijuana is currently not an option, it may be a case of watching this space. It could be just a matter of time before radical changes are made.
For now, some Nebraska residents are wondering whether they can use CBD instead. After all, some proponents refer to CBD as “healing without the high.” Contrary to popular belief, CBD products are not legal in all 50 states. To understand why, you need to recognize the differences between marijuana and CBD.
What’s the Difference Between Cannabis and CBD?
Technically speaking, cannabis is a plant whereas CBD is a compound. The Cannabis sativa L plant has different subtypes, including marijuana and hemp. Both of these cannabis species produce cannabinoids, which are active compounds unique to cannabis plants.
Marijuana is high in a compound called THC. This cannabinoid can cause intoxication when consumed, leading to the ‘high’ for which marijuana is famous. THC allows users to enjoy marijuana recreationally.
CBD is present in marijuana, but usually in very low quantities. It exists in much higher concentrations in hemp. Unlike THC, CBD does not cause intoxication. Numerous reports, both anecdotal and scientific, are starting to suggest that CBD may have therapeutic benefits.
Since marijuana is federally illegal and difficult to grow in large quantities without intervention from the government, CBD manufacturers must use hemp. It also ensures that producers can make a product with lots of CBD and little to no THC.
Until recently, the hemp in CBD products had to be imported into the USA, but that changed with the 2018 Farm Bill.
What the 2018 Farm Bill Means for Hemp in Nebraska
Many online reports imply that the Farm Bill made hemp and CBD legal. This is a bit of an oversimplification.
The Farm Bill is a piece of federal legislation outlining agricultural practices in the USA. It’s updated every four years, with the most recent version being the 2018 Farm Bill.
Part of this bill was the Hemp Farming Act. The Act separates hemp and marijuana by definition, outlining that hemp plants contain less than 0.3% THC. Under this definition, the Act allows states to make a decision regarding hemp cultivation and the production of CBD. This opens a pathway for states to think about the sale and use of CBD products.
In Nebraska, it led to the Nebraska Hemp Farming Act, which entered law on May 30, 2019. Prior to this Act, only universities could cultivate hemp for research purposes. Following it, however, cultivators can apply for a license to grow and process hemp in the state.
Hemp farming acts are usually an excellent opportunity for CBD sales. The Nebraska Hemp Farming does not mention CBD specifically at any point, though, causing quite a bit of confusion. So, can you use CBD in the Cornhusker State?
Is CBD Oil Legal in Nebraska?
There’s a lot of confusion regarding this question. Before the Nebraska Hemp Farming Act passed, Republic Attorney General Doug Peterson issues a memo that said CBD is a Schedule 1 substance unless it’s an FDA-approved drug. The memo also made an exception for products approved by the University of Nebraska Medical Center.
No updates were made to this following the passing of the Hemp Farming Act. So, where does this leave CBD?
Nebraska Revised Statutes section 28-405 does not list CBD as a controlled substance. This implies that you are free to use CBD should you choose. However, some law enforcement officials have been quick to raid CBD shops under suspicion that they’re selling illicit substances. It’s hard to know the truth.
There has been a suggestion that hopeful CBD sellers can register their product with the Nebraska Department of Agriculture. Once the Department tests and approves the product, it will be licensed for sale within the state, diminishing the risk of arrest.
Please note that you must also pay all relevant fees, including:
- Cultivator fees
- Cultivator site registration
- Processor-handler site fees
- Site modification fees
It’s better to pay the fees, as penalties for selling unlicensed CBD products in Nebraska can amount to $25,000 and a prison sentence of up to 20 years.
Although these regulations are confusing, the crux of it is this: Hemp-derived CBD products seem to be okay as long as they’re approved by the relevant authorities.
What CBD Products Can I Use in Nebraska?
Up to now, the only CBD product you can use with absolute certainty in Nebraska is Epidiolex. This synthetic cannabinoid has been approved by the FDA. However, you can only obtain it from a healthcare provider if you have a severe form of intractable epilepsy.
With the above information in mind, it seems that Nebraska isn’t being too strict on hemp-derived CBD right now. Most penalties are leveled at retailers, as the regulations for selling CBD are even more blurry. As a consumer, you likely don’t have to worry much.
It’s probably best to source CBD products from out of the state. It’s tricky to find licensed products in Nebraska due to the complex nature of the rules. There are plenty of high-quality CBD retailers online that produce products in accordance with the Farm Bill.
Whenever you buy CBD, it’s vital to stick to a hemp-derived product with less than 0.3% THC. You can verify this information by checking lab reports. Never buy from a company without visible lab reports.
Unlike some other states, Nebraska doesn’t appear to have a ban on particular consumption methods. However, the proposed MMJ bill would have banned smokable forms, so it’s probably best to avoid raw hemp flower. Vape shops are also taking a hit from law enforcement right now, so maybe stay away from vaping.
Tinctures, gummies, capsules, and topicals do not appear to be causing a huge problem.
Final Thoughts on CBD Products and Cannabis in Nebraska
Nebraska does not have some of the easiest regulations to understand. The fact that marijuana is illegal is black-and-white, but CBD is occupying a gray area right now. Many Nebraskans are enjoying CBD products without a worry, but you need to be careful that your CBD comes from a trusted source.
As for MMJ, the tide might be turning. Campaigners are pushing hard for MMJ in Nebraska, and a petition was recently submitted. Perhaps we will see big changes some time soon.