Industrial hemp bill clears Kansas House

Cropped Photo: Adrian Cable / CC BY-SA 2.0

TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) State lawmakers are one step closer to allowing limited scientific research into the benefits of industrial hemp in Kansas.

On Wednesday morning, the House overwhelmingly passed a measure that would exclude the producer from the legal definition of marijuana and cannabinoids. Only Meriden Republican Rep. Ronald Ellis voted against the bill.

If it becomes law, the Dept. of Agriculture would be allowed to grow and cultivate industrial hemp and encourage its research and development, to the extent allowed by federal law. The agency could conduct the studies either alone or in conjunction with research institution.

The proposal specifically targets Russell Co. as a location for a pilot program. The Ag. Dept. could also choose other counties as potential research locations.

The bill requires a licensing program to be set up that would oversee the research and set standards for who would be allowed to conduct the studies.

While the proposal would reclassify industrial hemp, it does not change any current regulations regarding medical or recreational marijuana use.