By Benjie Cooper
YouTube: Lucid’s Vlog
Just as some new bills to return hemp cultivation to the United States are making their way through Congress, Kansas is taking a bold step forward in the same direction by legalizing production in the state.
Senator Dan Kerschen [R] introduced Senate Bill 263 (SB263) in early January and the House passed it in late March with a 123-1 vote. The Senate unanimously voted to pass the measure (40-0) earlier this month and Governor Jeff Colyer added his signature to the document yesterday, making it into law.
Also known as the Alternative Crop Research Act, SB263 redefines industrial hemp’s legal status, distinguishing it from THC-rich cannabis varieties in the state’s controlled substance laws.
Under the bill, the Kansas Department of Agriculture will be able to “cultivate industrial hemp grown from certified seed and promote the research and development of industrial hemp.” The department is authorized to work on its own or in conjunction with a state educational institution.
SB263 also commissions a pilot program for private cultivations that will be started in Russell County for the “purpose of economic development and market research of industrial hemp and industrial hemp products.” Farmers who wish to participate will need to undergo fingerprinting, and submit to a state and national criminal history record check as well as pay any associated fees.
The Department of Agriculture will be working for the remainder of 2018 to have the new hemp industry’s guidelines ready before the deadline hits on December 31.