Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

House Intrigued by Industrial Hemp Research for Medical Use ; Latest Bill Opens Door to Hemp Crop, Oil Research at State Universities

Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

House Intrigued by Industrial Hemp Research for Medical Use ; Latest Bill Opens Door to Hemp Crop, Oil Research at State Universities

Article excerpt

The House agriculture committee took up a bill granting public state universities opportunity to conduct research on industrial hemp Monday after a separate panel authorized limited use of a marijuana oil extract to treat seizure sufferers.

Neither piece of legislation approximates Colorado's legalization of recreational pot consumption, but consideration of the bills in Kansas served as evidence blanket resistance to all features of marijuana may be softening.

Reps. Willie Dove, R-Bonner Springs, and Steven Johnson, R- Assaria, requested colleagues give consideration to a measure permitting Kansas Board of Regents universities to engage in agronomy research on varieties of hemp of little interest to people who want to smoke marijuana to get high.

The latest federal farm bill eliminated a requirement that researchers obtain U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency endorsements to study industrial hemp, but Kansas law forbids production of the crop. Under House Bill 2329, which the committee didn't act upon, the research ban would be lifted for the universities, as well as the Kansas Department of Agriculture.

Low-THC versions of the hemp plant -- widely grown in Kansas before World War II -- prosper in diverse settings, resist insect infestation and crowd out weeds. There is potential it could be planted in rotation with wheat and other crops, depending upon rainfall and evaporation rates.

"We see it growing all over Kansas," Dove said. "Kansas was among the top three states in production of industrial hemp. Kansas needs hemp to produce more jobs."

Johnson said the manufacturing version of hemp could be cultivated for use in rope, cloth, pulp, oil and food. …

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