UNL's Research into Industrial Hemp Has Already Yielded Some Key Information

Like one of the ghostlike baseball players of "Field of Dreams," researcher Ismail Dweikat strode through the rows of 9-foot-high sorghum in search of an unusual field in farm country.

Behind a thick screen of green stalks lay a research plot that’s been three years in the making in Nebraska.

“Can you smell it?” asked Dweikat as he stepped into a 30-by-60-foot field of cannabis.

Not just any cannabis, but the state’s first test plot of industrial hemp, a cousin of marijuana that has none of the properties to get someone high, but plenty of uses that might translate into an alternative cash crop for the state’s farmers.

“Corn is king in Nebraska — no one is going to give up corn for hemp — but at least hemp would give you a third option,” Dweikat said.

In 2014 the Nebraska Legislature passed a law allowing university research into the...

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