Nevada Governor Signs Hemp Research; Cultivation Bill

CARSON CITY, NV — Nevada’s Republican Governor Brian Sandoval on Thursday signed into law legislation that will allow hemp cultivation in the state under current federal guidelines.
The State Board of Agriculture can now begin adopting regulations regarding the licencing and oversight of hemp cultivation. Hemp cultivation can begin as early as January 2016, once the regulations are in place.
Sponsored by Sen. Tick Segerblom (D-Las Vegas), Senate Bill 305 won unanimous approval in both chambers of the legislature, passing the Assembly 41-0 in May after being approved by the Senate 19-0 in April.
The bill will allow colleges, universities, and the state Department of Agriculture to grow industrial hemp for research purposes under an agricultural pilot program, as recently authorized by the federal government. Hemp cultivation programs would need to be registered and certified by the Department of Agriculture.
The bill defines industrial hemp as cannabis containing less than 0.3% THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) on a dry weight basis.
Hemp products are already legal in the United States, but only if the hemp is imported from the more than 30 countries that legally grow it. Last year, members of Congress relaxed some federal restrictions on hemp cultivation by approving language in the omnibus federal Farm Bill that explicitly authorizes states to sponsor hemp research and pilot programs, such as Nevada’s proposal, absent federal reclassification of the plant.
Over 20 states have adopted similar hemp laws.
In 2014 U.S. consumers purchased more than $640 million worth of hemp products, representing market growth of 3% since 2014.
Hemp is a durable natural fiber, a nutritious food product for humans and pets, a superior building material, and has thousands of other known uses. A hemp crop needs half the water alfalfa uses, is a great rotation crop to use after legumes that fix nitrogen in the soil and it can be grown without heavy use of pesticides.
Farmers worldwide grow hemp commercially for fiber, seed, and oil for use in a variety of industrial and consumer products, including food and clothing. The United States is the only developed nation that fails to cultivate industrial hemp as an economic crop on a large scale, according to the Congressional Resource Service.
Over thirty countries produce industrial hemp, including Australia, Austria, Canada, Chile, China, Denmark, Egypt, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain, Hungary, India, Italy, Japan, Korea, Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, Turkey and Ukraine.
The majority of hemp sold in the United States is imported from China and Canada, the world’s largest exporters of the crop.
The full text and history of Senate Bill 305 can be found here.