For a long time, lawmakers though that marijuana and hemp were the same thing. And since both of these herbs come from the same mother plant, it was hard to come up with an argument against the assumption. But over time, researchers discovered that differences in the chemistry of hemp and marijuana meant that only the latter would cause the experience of a high.
This is what ultimately pushed lawmakers to reconsider their stance, and in 2018, the Farm Bill was signed into law. This legalized hemp across the country on a federal level, but states like Nebraska might have their own regulations to help protect both hemp freedom and marijuana laws.
Ever since the passing of the 2018 Farm Bill, hemp has been considered completely legal. That means you should be able to smoke the stuff without any issues. But the reason why people feel the need to ask whether or not they can smoke hemp flower is because of how the herb ties in with marijuana.
In Nebraska, marijuana remains fully illegal, although the herb has been decriminalized. The issue is that marijuana and hemp look and smell exactly the same, with no way to distinguish one from the other based solely on appearances and odor.
The only way to tell the two apart would be to put them through a lab test. According to the law, for any cannabis plant to qualify as hemp, it should contain no more than 0.3% tetrahydrocannabinol or THC – the main psychoactive compound found in the cannabis plant. Anything more than 0.3% qualifies the herb as marijuana.
And because marijuana remains illegal in the state of Nebraska, law enforcement agents are having a hard time implementing marijuana law without encroaching on hemp freedom. That said, the mere appearance and smell of cannabis is no longer enough to establish probable cause, so officers must send suspected samples to labs for THC testing before they can penalize the offender.
The best way to avoid all of that would to simply refrain from using raw hemp flower in public areas. Sure, hemp is legal, and you shouldn’t have to worry about running in with the police for its use, but just to be on the safe side, it might be best to keep the raw flower at home.
One thing you’ll notice about hemp-infused edibles is that they’re available almost everywhere. Lining the shelves of gasoline stations, hair salons, and convenience stores, edibles are also a mainstay across various online vendors’ inventories. In fact, many brands will assert that edibles make up majority of their sales.
But for as widely popular as edibles might be, they’re not what you would call legal. The Food and Drug Administration has made no secret of its non-approval of hemp-infused food. That’s because the FDA claims that hemp extracts have yet to be approved as a drug, and therefore can’t be incorporated into food and drink. Moreover, even previously approved drugs need to undergo secondary assessment for whether or not they can be added into food.
Despite the obvious illegality of hemp edibles however, it’s clear that the authorities have no issues with the rampant availability and sale of such products. That said, you can purchase, use, and sell hemp edibles without expecting any legal repercussions.
Farmers in Nebraska can grow hemp as long as they’re licensed by the state. That’s because it takes knowledge and skill in order to cultivate cannabis to grow it into hemp. The slightest mistakes in the process could potentially cause an increase of THC thus producing marijuana instead.
Individuals caught growing hemp without a license can be subject to steep fines and penalties. All of the subsequent herb will also be considered marijuana, and shall be discarded by law enforcement.
The 2018 Farm Bill has made hemp accessible across the country to people who need it. But it’s also important to consider how hemp and marijuana laws might overlap. In Nebraska where marijuana remains illegal, individuals are encouraged to keep raw flower at home to avoid any inconvenience especially when dealing with law enforcement.