Hemp is a sensational plant that many people have forgotten about due to its illegalities on different levels over the past 80+ years. Hemp is starting to make a comeback though as more awareness is starting to develop surrounding the plethora of benefits that this plant has to offer.
Hemp, unlike its cousin “marijuana” or cannabis rather, is nonintoxicating and can be utilized to make an estimated 50,000+ products. It is also a very nutritious plant offering a plethora of vitamins, minerals, and amino acids. For thousands of years before the “war on drugs” and the MJ Tax Act of 1937, hemp was a prominent crop grown by farmers worldwide. In fact, many sources point to hemp as being the first agricultural crop EVER! Today, however, the amount of hemp being grown in the United States is drastically lower than in the past, but that has started to change since the 2014 Farm Bill.
This bill opened the door for states to opt into allowing for hemp cultivation and research. As of January 22, 2018, there were 34 states that had enacted hemp bills. 19 of those states had hemp in the ground last year. Across those 19 states, there were more than 25,541 acres of hemp planted in 2017 in comparison to only 9,770 in 2016. The states that grew the most hemp in 2017 included Colorado, Kentucky, Oregon, North Dakota, Minnesota, and New York. There were at least 1,000 acres planted in each of these states, with Colorado having almost 10,000! One state however that doesn’t make the list whatsoever is Kansas.
Hemp in Kansas
This is devastating seeing how there are many farmers in Kansas that are struggling to make ends meet and hemp could change that. Luckily, there was legislation introduced in February of this year that seeks to change that. The bill, SB 263, looks to “establish a state-licensed industrial hemp research program.” The bill quickly progressed through the Senate and the House as you can see below! (Timeline provided by NORML.)
- Update: SB 263 was reintroduced in the Senate on February 1st with the recommendation that the amended version of the bill be passed.
- Update: SB 263 was approved by the Senate by a 36-3 vote on 2/22, and it is now being transmitted to the House.
- Update: The House Committee on Agriculture will hold a hearing on SB 263 Wednesday, 3/14 at 3:30pm in Room 582-N.
- Update: SB 263 was approved by the House Committee on Agriculture on 3/20. A vote by the full House is expected in the upcoming weeks.
- Update: SB 263 was approved by the House on 3/28 by a 123-1 vote. It now awaits action from the Governor.
- Update: SB 263 was enrolled and presented to the Governor on 4/10.
The bill now awaits the signature of or further action from the Governor, Jeff Colyer. Should the bill be passed, it would be a historical moment not just for Kansas, but for the United States as well. There are hundreds of farmers in the state of Kansas that could significantly benefit from being able to cultivate this incredible plant. Not only would it provide them with an increased income flow, it would also help to improve the quality of the soil on their land thanks to a process known as Phytoremediation.
To learn more about hemp, check out the National Hemp Association here and stay tuned to the blog here at CannaLance for updates on how legislation for legalizing hemp in Kansas progresses in the coming days.