When I was a young boy, my father reminisced about driving through the Nebraska countryside in the 1970s. He told me about the vast fields of green he saw, only, they were not fields of corn. Yes, Nebraska has a long history with hemp. In fact, local hemp even earned its own nickname: “Nebraska Non-sense.”1 Despite this unique history, it has been illegal to grow hemp in Nebraska for almost a century— until recently. In 2019, responding to the recent trend of hemp legalization in the U.S., Nebraska lawmakers weighed the question of whether Nebraskans should be allowed to grow hemp. LB 657, or the Nebraska Hemp Farming Act (NHFA), sought to align state and federal law on industrial hemp and open new commercial markets for farmers and businesses for the production and sale of hemp products.2 Advocates of industrial hemp claimed a forthcoming “green rush” fueled by the growing market for cannabidiol (CBD), while others claimed the bill was a slippery slope for the legalization of marijuana.3 Specifically, State Senator John Lowe of Kearney argued that the NHFA was a “Trojan horse” for legal marijuana and would increase children’s access to drugs.4 However, the bill passed on a 43-4 vote. On May 30th, 2019, Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts signed the bill allowing farmers to cultivate hemp.5 This Comment will argue that the NHFA is not a slippery slope for legal marijuana. The slippery slope argument is tenuous given Nebraska’s history as a former forerunner in hemp production and a top agricultural state with temperate, conservative values. This unique history enables citizens, judges, and legislators to draw and maintain a meaningful line between hemp and marijuana.
Nebraska Nonsense: Trojan Horse or Cash Crop?,
99 Neb. L. Rev. 509
Available at: https://digitalcommons.unl.edu/nlr/vol99/iss2/7