A bill that would allow for industrial hemp research was passed Monday by the Kansas House commerce panel.

As Kansas Agland reports, House Bill 2182, would allow research and business development related to hemp cultivation, processing and distribution. It would encourage public-private partnerships and academic research to that end.

Conservative Republican Representative Willie Dove of Bonner Springs has championed the proposal because it gives farmers a crop that can be grown in very dry conditions.

Proponents of the bill include advocates of rural economic development and farmers groups, such as the Kansas Farm Bureau, which highlighted the potential for industrial hemp to be a water-efficient option better suited for Kansas than thirstier crops. This bill could help answer that question, it argued.

The KBI, The Kansas associations of sheriffs and of chiefs of police worry the existence of legal industrial hemp cultivation in Kansas would complicate criminal investigations into suspected marijuana, slowing the process and passing the cost onto taxpayers. 

By Angie Haflich • Mar 15, 2017