Though the Nebraska Hemp Farming Act doesn’t name CBD directly, it does state that legal hemp includes any derivative, extract, or cannabinoid with no more than 0.3% THC. The slight lack of clarity within the language of the bill has caused some confusion among prospective CBD sellers and legislatures over whether CBD is completely legal, even under the new regulations.
Possession of hemp-derived CBD is legal as long as it was derived from hemp cultivated and sold under state regulations. Possession of CBD derived from a non-regulated source is considered possession of a controlled substance and results in prison time and fines if convicted.
The Nebraska Hemp Farming Act, signed into law on May 30, 2019, allows for the cultivation and commercial distribution of hemp-derived cannabidiol (CBD) products, as long as they are tested and approved by the Nebraska Department of Agriculture. CBD that is derived from the marijuana plant is still considered illegal in the state and federally, unless it meets Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requirements such as in prescription formulations.
Licensing requirements for CBD
The 2018 Farm Bill legalized hemp cultivation and created a clear pathway to remove some cannabis from Schedule 1 status by creating a legal distinction between hemp and marijuana. Under the new legislation, hemp is classified as cannabis that contains less than 0.3% THC by weight; marijuana is cannabis that contains more than 0.3% THC. As a result, hemp-derived CBD was descheduled by the bill, but marijuana and its derivatives, including CBD, remain Schedule 1 substances. Hemp is now considered an agricultural commodity under the 2018 Farm Bill, but it must be produced and sold under regulations that implement the bill. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has yet to create these regulations.
A first offense of possession of 1 ounce, or 28.35 grams, or less of cannabis is treated as an infraction with a $300 fine. For second and third offenses, possession of 1 ounce, or 28.35 grams, or less result in a $500 fine with five and seven days jail time, respectively. Possession of more than 1 ounce to 1 pound, or 28.35 to 454 grams, of cannabis is a misdemeanor, resulting in a $500 fine and three months of incarceration. Possession of more than 1 pound, or 454 grams, is a felony, with penalties including five years prison time and a $10,000 fine.
Selling unapproved CBD products is considered sale of a controlled substance under Nebraska law. Penalties for cultivating or selling a controlled substance in Nebraska includes a $25,000 fine and a prison sentence of one to 20 years.
The 2018 Farm Bill shifted oversight from the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). As the FDA slowly begins to make new regulations for CBD products, the market remains largely buyer beware. Still, the agency warns that in-flux regulations don’t excuse companies from making only reputable claims on their labeling.
To contact the Hemp Program, email [email protected] or call 402-471-2351.
Below you will find links to all of the forms and applications associated with the Nebraska Hemp Program. Please read the application guidance document associated with your license type (cultivator or processor-handler) prior to submission. All license applications must be submitted by mail or in-person.
Click on the headings to view the documents.
Updated January 1, 2022
LB657 and LB1152, passed by the Legislature and signed into law by Governor Pete Ricketts, adopted the Nebraska Hemp Farming Act and amended existing statutes to establish a state hemp program within the Nebraska Department of Agriculture (NDA). The legislation gave NDA the authority to regulate the growing, processing, handling and brokering of hemp in Nebraska. To legally grow hemp in Nebraska, interested parties must receive a license from NDA, regardless of the size or purpose for cultivation. Growing, processing, handling, and/or brokering hemp without a license from NDA or a Tribe with a USDA-approved hemp plan is illegal in Nebraska.
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