Nevada Hemp Overview

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What is Hemp?

The hemp plant belongs to the Cannabis sativa species of herbaceous plants. It is distinguished from marijuana by its low levels of the psychoactive compound tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) compared to marijuana. Hemp must contain no more than 0.3% THC to be considered legal, while marijuana typically has highTHC concentration. Hemp plants grow faster than marijuana plants, reaching maturity in 120 days, while marijuana can take twice that time to be harvestable. Hemp leaves are similar in shape to those of marijuana, although hemp leaves are broader.

Industrial hemp is the term used to describe hemp that is cultivated in order to obtain raw material for the processing of cannabidiol (CBD), oil, fiber, and various other goods. The following are some parts of the hemp plant and its derivatives in Nevada:

  • Hemp Seeds
    These are the light brown, nutty seeds of the hemp plant. They can be processed into a variety of products, like oils or flour. They are nutritionally rich in protein, calcium, iron, potassium, and vitamins
  • Hemp Flower
    This is the flower of the hemp plant. It is often dried, cured, and either sold in smokable form, processed into edibles, or consumed as a therapeutic tea. Hemp flower is known to offer relief from chronic pain and inflammatory conditions
  • Hemp Extract
    This describes concentrations made from the leaves, seeds, stalks, and flowers of the hemp plant. Hemp extract often takes the form of oils
  • Hemp Hearts
    These are the soft insides of hemp seeds, eaten raw or roasted. They are favored for their nutritional value, as they contain fiber, protein, magnesium, and omega-3 fatty acids. Hemp hearts do not contain any of THC or CBD
  • Hemp Milk
    This is produced when hemp seeds are ground to a fine watery consistency. It is favored by people seeking plant-based alternatives to animal milk. It is a good nutritional source of amino acids, calcium, protein, vitamins, and zinc

Is Hemp Legal in Nevada?

Hemp cultivation, processing, sale, and consumption are legal in Nevada. The hemp legalization journey began when Congress passed the Agricultural Improvement Act, or the 2014 Farm Bill. The 2014 Farm Bill acknowledged that although hemp was still included in the Controlled Substances Act as a Schedule 1 drug, state Departments of Agriculture and higher education institutions could cultivate the plant for research purposes. Interstate hemp commerce was prohibited.

Nevada's Senate Bill 305 of 2015 was based on provisions included in Section 7606 of the 2014 Farm Bill. This section authorized universities, research institutions, and state Departments of Agriculture to initiate hemp pilot programs. Section 13.5 of SB 305 thus authorized the Nevada Department of Agriculture or any higher institutions domiciled in the state to undertake hemp research. SB 305 also made a distinction between hemp and marijuana and excluded hemp from criminal statutes relating to marijuana.

In 2017, Senate Bill 396 was passed to significantly expand the state's hemp program. Previously, only the state's Department of Agriculture could cultivate hemp. Under SB 396, individuals and entities who were interested in cultivating and handling industrial hemp in Nevada were allowed to apply for licenses.

After the U.S. Congress passed the 2018 Farm Bill, Nevada lawmakers enacted Senate Bill 209 in 2019. SB 209 authorized the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Health and Human Services to regulate hemp cultivation and testing. The 2018 Farm Bill significantly expanded the ability of states to engage in hemp cultivation and commerce. First, the Farm Bill removed hemp from the Controlled Substances Act. This allowed state hemp programs to qualify for United States Department of Agriculture research and insurance schemes from which they were previously barred due to the illegality of hemp. Nevada allows hemp and hemp products to cross its borders without restriction. Residents of the state, however, can only cultivate hemp if they possess valid licenses issued by the Nevada Department of Agriculture.

What Hemp Products are Legal in Nevada?

Hemp-derived CBD products are legal in Nevada. It is not permitted to smoke hemp products in public. Truck drivers are equally not permitted to smoke hemp while operating their vehicles. Residents of the state are not allowed to grow hemp in their homes unless they have obtained a license from the NDA.

Can a Municipality Restrict Hemp Cultivation or Processing in Nevada?

Municipalities, counties, and cities in Nevada are permitted to restrict the operations of hemp cultivating and processing facilities within their jurisdictions. Intending hemp growers in Nevada are required to obtain approval for their sites from the local governments where the sites are located. For instance, in May 2020, Carson City adopted an Ordinance, Bill No.104, barring the issuance of permits for hemp cultivation for a six-month period.

How to Get a License to Grow or Process Hemp in Nevada

In order to grow, handle, or process hemp in Nevada, it is mandatory to obtain a license from the Nevada Department of Agriculture. The state has three categories of hemp licenses. These are hemp grower, seed producer, and handlers licenses. The appropriate application forms for each category are listed below:

A Nevada hemp grower license applicant is expected to furnish the Department of Agriculture with the following information on the application form:

  • Details of the proposed growing area, including coordinates, if the application is for an outdoor growing site
  • Confirmation of whether the hemp will be cultivated for the processing of CBD, hemp seed oil, biofuel, hempcrete, compost, fiber, or grain
  • A criminal history report covering the 10 years prior to the application

Prior to the submission of their Grower Applications, all intending hemp cultivators must secure zoning approval from the counties or local jurisdictions of their proposed growing sites. They must also submit details of the hemp varieties which they intend to cultivate. In addition, if the proposed growing site is not legally owned by the applicant, they must provide the Department of Agriculture with a notarized statement from the legal landlord of the property, confirming consent for the land to be used for hemp cultivation.

How Much Does a License to Grow or Process Hemp in Nevada Cost?

A Nevada hemp grower license costs $900, payable to the Department of Agriculture. An applicant who intends to grow only hemp nursery stock will pay a non-refundable application fee of $750. If the application is for an outdoor growing site, the applicant is mandated to pay an additional $5 fee per acre. Applicants for indoor growing sites will pay $0.33 per 1,000 square feet. A Nevada hemp seed producer License applicant pays a $100 fee, $5 per acre of outdoor growing area, and a $0.33 fee per square feet of an indoor growing area. A hemp handler license application in the state attracts a fee of $1,000.

How to Grow Hemp in Nevada

Nevada hemp growers are allowed to use any suitable means to cultivate their crops, whether from seeds, cuttings, or clones. Hemp seeds are best grown in soil that is properly drained and has a maximum pH value of 7.0. Hemp plants can grow even without excessive irrigation. Hemp plants are known to grow quite rapidly, taking an average of 90 days to go from sprout to mature crop. The Nevada Department of Agriculture allows hemp farmers to cultivate hemp seed obtained out-of-state, provided the seed vendor is registered with the state or federal authorities where it operates. Hemp farmers are advised to cultivate hemp varieties that have been proven to have a THC level below 0.3%. Hemp can be cultivated either indoors or outdoors in Nevada, while marijuana growers prefer to keep their crops indoors, where the temperature and soil can be more efficiently monitored.

Because of the risk of cross-pollination between hemp and marijuana crops, the Department of Agriculture may advise a hemp cultivator to adopt an indoor growing method if there is a marijuana field nearby. Nevada law requires hemp growers to submit a Harvest Report/ Inspection Report Request at least 45 days before they initiate the harvest of hemp.

Only pesticides approved by the Environmental Protection Agency can be used for hemp cultivation in Nevada. Such pesticides include:

  • Argus
  • Agree WG
  • Azaguard
  • Bioceres
  • Bioprotec Plus
  • Botanigard 22 WP
  • Carbon Power
  • Chrysogen
  • Crymax
  • Fungisei
  • Heligen

Where Can You Buy Hemp Flower in Nevada?

Nevada residents can buy smokable hemp flowers from dispensaries and online retail outlets in the state. There are no limits on the amount of hemp flower that a person can purchase, although all hemp products sold in Nevada must conform to the maximum THC level of 0.3%. Nevada residents can ship in hemp from out of the state.

Hemp vs THC

The hemp plant typically contains 0.3% or less of THC. THC is the cannabinoid that causes psychoactive effects in users. Hemp-derived Delta-8 THC products are legal in Nevada, provided their THC content does not exceed 0.3%.

Hemp vs CBD

The hemp plant is known to contain high levels of CBD. Some hemp farmers in Nevada grow the plant primarily for the purpose of CBD processing. CBD is not psychoactive. Hemp-derived CBD products are legal in Nevada, but they must be obtained from licensed dispensaries.

Hemp Applications

Hemp is notable for the various agricultural, industrial, medical, and cosmetic uses to which it can be put. The following are a few of the many hemp applications in Nevada:

  • Hemp Paper: This is made from the pulping of hemp fiber. Hemp paper is considered a more environmentally sustainable product than other types because hemp takes a shorter time to grow and requires less land than trees. Because hemp pulp is lighter than wood pulp, hemp also requires a smaller amount of the solvents used in the production process for paper
  • Hemp Plastic: This is made from the cellulose extracted from hemp stalks and fibers. The plant material is dissolved in an acid and the resulting mixture is treated to pressurized heat to form a variety of products. Nanocellulose, which is a byproduct of the hemp plastic making process, is a stronger and more resilient material than steel
  • Hemp Concrete: This is made from a mixture of hemp hurd, water, and lime. Hemp concrete is used in construction as a material for building insulation. Hempcrete, as it is also known, is a lighter material than normal concrete. Its ability to act as an insulator means that hempcrete can help regulate heat in a building. Its resistance to pressure makes hempcrete favored for construction in earthquake-prone areas.Hempcrete is also fire-resistant
  • Hemp Biofuel: This is made from hemp biomass. Hemp biofuels are of two types: biodiesel produced from hemp seed oil and hemp ethanol or methanol, produced using the cellulose from the stalks of the plant. Hemp biodiesel is known to be biodegradable, and is not as combustible as diesel derived from fossil fuels
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