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marijuana seeds illegal in nebraska

Nebraska Delta-8 THC and CBD Retailers Beware

On the heels of the boom in cannabidiol (“CBD”) sales, many Nebraska CBD retailers have recently been marketing and selling products containing Delta-8 tetrahydrocannabinol (“Delta-8 THC”), which is an isomer of Delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (“Delta-9 THC”). Delta-9 THC is the common compound in marijuana that provides euphoric effects to it users. Marijuana plants and other products containing Delta-9 THC in concentrations high enough to provide users with any such effects are generally illegal under federal and Nebraska law. Delta-8 THC provides a euphoric effect similar to Delta-9 THC, but milder, and due to a loophole in the federal and Nebraska law, as further discussed below, products containing Delta-8 THC are arguably legal in Nebraska and many other states.

The Delta-8 THC market was born when producers began looking for ways to turn extra CBD extracted from hemp into something else profitable. Using a chemical synthetization process, they were able to produce Delta-8 THC from CBD, and incorporate Delta-8 THC into products that could be marketed as a legal recreational drug in many states.

Under the Nebraska Hemp Farming Act (the “Nebraska Hemp Act”), “Hemp” is legal in Nebraska and removed from the Nebraska Controlled Substances Act. Hemp is defined as “the plant Cannabis sativa L. and any part of such plant, including the viable seeds of such plant and all derivatives, extracts, cannabinoids, isomers, acids, salts, and salts of isomers, whether growing or not, with a delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol concentration of not more than 0.3 % on a dry weight basis” (emphasis added) . Thus, as long hemp derivative products (such as CBD and Delta-8 THC) do not contain Delta-9 THC in excess of 0.3%, a plain reading of the statute indicates that Delta-8 THC and products containing Delta-8 THC would be classified as Hemp, and are legal in Nebraska. Many other states have similar industrial hemp statutes that purport to make Delta-8 THC products legal in the same manner.

Under the federal 2018 Farm Bill (the “Farm Bill”), “Hemp” was removed from the federal Controlled Substances Act. In addition, under the Farm Bill, the definition of Hemp is the same as it is under the Nebraska Hemp Act, meaning that Delta-8 THC products that do not contain Delta-9 THC in excess of 0.3% are legal under federal law.

However, despite the purported legality of Delta-8 THC under Nebraska and federal law, Nebraska retailers face a myriad of risks. In 2020, the Drug Enforcement Agency (“DEA”) issued an Interim Final Rule that stated, in part, that “all synthetically derived tetrahydrocannabinols [regardless of THC content] remain schedule I controlled substances.” There is some debate over whether Delta-8 THC is “synthetically derived,” but there appears to be a conflict between this DEA Rule and the Farm Bill. In any event, Delta-8 THC retailers face risk of DEA enforcement for the possession, distribution, or transportation of products containing Delta-8 THC. In addition, the Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”) retains authority to regulate products that contain cannabis or cannabis derivatives under the federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act. Currently, Delta-8 THC products do not appear to be prohibited by FDA regulations. However, the FDA recently issued a consumer update warning of the dangers of Delta-8 THC products, including contamination concerns from potentially unsafe manufacturing methods. Thus, Delta-8 retailers also risk that the FDA may take steps to ban or more tightly regulate these products.

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At the state level, the tide appears to be shifting, as more states are closing the legal loophole that purports to make Delta-8 THC legal under laws similar to the Nebraska Hemp Act. For example, Colorado (which allows recreational marijuana use) has banned Delta-8 THC since May 2021, and Texas recently did the same in October 2021. As of the date of this article, sixteen other states have restricted or banned Delta-8 THC. In Nebraska, Governor Rickett’s office has generally taken a negative position towards cannabis and its derivative products, and Governor Ricketts recently asked the state Attorney General to review the legality of Delta-8 THC. Recall that prior to the enactment of the Nebraska Hemp Act, certain Nebraska sellers of CBD products were raided and charged with criminal drug trafficking offenses. The Nebraska Supreme Court eventually found in favor of the sellers, but only after years of the defendants expending extensive legal fees. Nebraska Delta-8 THC retailers could face a similar situation.

There is also the risk that Delta-8 THC retailers may inadvertently possess and/or sell products containing Delta-9 THC in amounts greater than 0.3%, in which event they would be subject to potential felonies under the Nebraska Controlled Substances Act. Thus, such retailers are advised to take as many steps as possible to confirm that its Delta-8 THC products fall within the definition of Hemp under Nebraska law, and don’t contain Delta-9 THC in amounts greater than 0.3%.

Persons considering entering the Delta-8 THC market should carefully consider these risks, and be prepared to handle the effects of a Delta-8 THC ban or restriction under Nebraska or federal law. If you have any questions about Delta-8 THC or other cannabis issues, attorneys at Erickson | Sederstrom can assist you. Attorneys Shay Garvin or Andrew Collins can be reached (402) 397-2200.

Growing Cannabis In Nebraska

Located in the Great Plains and Midwestern region of the United States, Nebraska covers an area of over seventy-seven thousand square miles, making it the sixteenth largest state in America. With a population of just under two million people, Nebraska is the thirty-seventh most populated state, with around 40% of the population living in the state capital Lincoln and largest city Omaha.

Although growing cannabis seeds in Nebraska is illegal, possession of small amounts is generally tolerated, with only a $300 fine for people found in possession of one ounce or less, rising to $500 second time and also incurring seven days in jail if caught a third.

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The cultivation and growing of cannabis seeds in Nebraska is considered a felony, classed under the sale and manufacture laws and not possession, leading to a mandatory year to twenty years in jail and a maximum fine of $25,000. If you are considering growing cannabis in Nebraska this coming season, we suggest keeping it small, discreet and very quiet. Growing just a few plants could well put you in jail for several years, and these risks must be seriously considered before embarking on any growing operation.

Nebraska has a warm Summer and cold Winter, with snow covering much of the nortern part of the state for several months of the year. Forming part of the notorious ‘Tornado Alley’ also means it suffers more than it’s fair share of freak Summer storms and devastating tornado’s, all of which can make growing cannabis seeds in Nebraska rather difficult and challenging.

Growing cannabis seeds in Nebraska is very risky, with severe penalties for those who are discovered. Growing indoors often produces the best quality buds, but severely increases the risks of being caught. Outdoor growing, away from your property, minimizes the risks involved, but often outdoor cannabis growers find the plants slow to fully mature, before the first frosts and cold, night-time air, wrecks havoc with the buds, causing rot and mold to develop, especially in the larger cola’s.

Traditional, outdoor grown cannabis, enjoys a long vegetative period, often growing and developing throughout the Spring and Summer months, commencing flowering as the darkness hours increase further into September. This long flowering period can leave the plants exposed to the elements for months, increasing the chances of them being discovered, damaged or destroyed. With many of the Sativa dominant strains capable of reaching up to two meters tall, some cannabis strains are hardly discreet.

Growing Cannabis In Nebraska ‘Guerrilla Style’

For many, ‘ guerrilla growing ’ offers the best and safest option for growing cannabis seeds in Nebraska and many other states across America, with autoflowering seeds becoming the preferred option for their easy-grow and fast-flowering abilities. Discreet and compact, feminized autoflowering seeds are guaranteed female and capable of generating high quality buds from germination in approximately twelve weeks, the perfect choice for remote growing during the Spring, Summer and early Fall.

Autoflowering seeds contain genes from a wild form of cannabis called Ruderalis, a fast maturing plant, but one with very little bud production or THC. The autoflowering gene found naturally in Ruderalis has since been isolated and used to modify a selection of highly stable and uniform strains, giving them the capacity to flower, regardless of the number of hours of darkness the plants receive.

Unlike traditional cannabis seeds, which can enjoy lengthy vegetative periods, before being induced, or naturally made to flower by reducing the number of daylight hours the plants receive. Autoflowering seeds are governed by an internal clock, which makes the plant begin flowering, as soon as it becomes established, With an average lifespan of ten – twelve weeks before it’s completely mature and ready for cutting, many growers enjoy the staggered planting and harvesting that autoflowering plants deliver.

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With careful planning, it’s possible to begin discreetly planting young autoflowering seedlings as soon as the daylight hours increase to more than twelve hours per day, and continue planting right up until the end of July. With a little luck, and good conditions, your small seedlings will grow and flower, requiring approximately ten weeks of outdoor Summer sun to fully mature, and as the plants were planted in staggered intervals, so shall they be harvested, providing a long crop that can last from early July, through to the Fall.

These well planned, discreet outdoor operations are the best way to grow cannabis seeds in Nebraska, minimizing the risks, while providing yourself with a steady supply of high quality buds. Larger harvests, to last through the Winter, and until the next growing season, can be generated by planting a few feminized plants in with your ‘guerrilla-grow’. Slower to flower, requiring a reduction in daylight hours, feminized seeds grow a lot taller than autoflowering seeds, with some Sativa dominant strains reaching up to two meters tall, and are much more difficult to conceal.

Feminized cannabis plants usually begin to flower around mid-late September, requiring approximately sixty days to fully mature. Grown through the Spring and Summer months, the plants can grow tall and very bushy, capable of producing exceptionally large harvests of buds and cola’s, enough to last even the most seasoned smoker, through the long Winter nights.

Feminized Seeds

If you are going to start growing cannabis seeds in Nebraska, you need to be sure the plants you are growing are female. Feminized seeds give you that assurance, guaranteeing that each seed with germinate, creating a stable, uniform plant with similar traits, characteristics and attributes. Almost all of the most popular and commonly known strains are available as feminized cannabis seeds.

Regular Seeds

Less common than a couple of decades ago, regular cannabis seeds are capable of producing either a male or female plant and are the choice of seed and clone producers. As most growers only want to grow female plants, the popularity of feminized strains has seen the demand for regular seeds reduce.

Autoflowering Seeds

Fast and easy to grow, autoflowering seeds are the choice cannabis plant of ‘guerrilla-growers’ requiring very little care or attention to achieve a worthwhile harvest. We offer a selection of autoflowering seeds, each capable of producing fast harvests of buds, indistinguishable from their regular and feminized counter-parts.

Medical Seeds

Many people believe in the medicinal properties of cannabis and the powerful effects some strains induce. Although more tests and trials need to be completed, there is little doubt of the positive benefits cannabis can bring to people suffering from insomnia, loss of appetite, headaches, stress and anxiety to name just a few.