Nevada Hemp Farming Booming : Department Of Agriculture

Industrial hemp in Nevada
Image: NDA

Harvesting of hemp crops has already begun in southern Nevada – the fourth year of harvest in the state.

The state’s hemp sector has come a long way since it began as a research and development program under the 2014 Farm Bill, Nevada Senate Bill 305 and Senate Bill 396. In its first year in 2017, there were only 26 growers.

“Now in our fourth growing season, we have certified 207 registered growers, 53 handlers and 37 seed producers to date,” said Ashley Jeppson, Nevada Department of Agriculture (NDA) Plant Industry division administrator. “The program has grown by more than 600 percent since 2017, and we are proud that Nevada is on the forefront of the hemp industry.”

In 2017, the crop was grown on 490 acres. Last year 1,880 acres were under cultivation, putting it at no.11 in the U.S. according to VoteHemp in terms of acreage.

The NDA says it is working with the industry to ensure compliance under Farm Bill 2018, which removed the crop from the list of Schedule 1 controlled substances and made it an agricultural commodity.

Senate Bill 347, signed into law in June this year, amended the state’s existing industrial hemp law to be in compliance with new federal hemp regulations under Farm Bill 2018.

There are no area restrictions related to industrial hemp in Nevada aside from standard zoning and growers can apply to produce as much or as little hemp as they wish. THC levels in hemp grown must be kept below a 0.3% threshold on a dry weight basis; failing which the entire crop must be destroyed as it is then considered marijuana.

Multiple inspections are carried out each year on each pilot program project, but as at January this year the NDA hemp program had not seen any THC levels in excess of 0.3%.

As for cannabidiol, provisions of SB 396 allow for CBD produced from crops grown in the state to be sold in marijuana dispensaries throughout Nevada.

Nevada was one of the pioneers of medical cannabis legalisation in the USA. Ballot Question 9 was approved in 2000 and things went further with full cannabis legalisation approved with Ballot Question 2 in 2016.