Nevada lawmaker proposing bill creating, regulating industrial farming of marijuana plants

A Nevada lawmaker is introducing a bill that would allow industrial marijuana farming.

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Democratic Sen. Tick Segerblom, the primary sponsor of SB305, said the bill would create regulations for an industrial hemp industry in the state.

The proposal was introduced Monday on the floor of the Senate.

The bill would allow agricultural research colleges and registered growers to purchase, store and buy industrial cannabis, and it sets up regulations covering the industry. Growers would be required to register with the state and meet certain agricultural requirements regarding THC content.

Industrial hemp differs from medical or recreational marijuana plants in THC content and appearance. Industrial cannabis products include things like hemp oil or hemp yarn.

Segerblom said the bill was designed to create a separate industry, and it prohibits a corporation from having ownership in both the medical marijuana and industrial hemp industries.

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"The intent is to keep them as separate industries," he said.

The 2014 federal Farm Bill included provisions allowing states to grow and regulate industrial hemp.

19 states have pilot programs studying industrial hemp, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, and eight states including California actively promote industrial cannabis.

Republican Assemblyman Jim Wheeler said he was interested in the industry because hemp uses less water than other agricultural products.

"It takes half the water to grow the same amount of product as alfalfa, and the profit's actually higher," he said. "We'll take a look at it."