Kansas Hemp Overview


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What is Hemp?

Hemp belongs to the Cannabis sativa species of plants. It is often described as industrial hemp because it is used widely to produce fabric, paper, oil, flour, and other industrial and consumer products.

Hemp and marijuana belong to the same species of plants. However, hemp contains small amounts of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychotropic compound found in large amounts in marijuana. Hemp is high in cannabidiol (CBD), a compound that does not cause psychotropic effects or highs. Under federal and state laws, hemp plants that contain more than 0.3% THC are considered marijuana. Apart from the difference in THC content, hemp and marijuana also have other distinguishing features. Hemp has a wider range of industrial uses than marijuana. It usually grows taller and matures faster than marijuana.

The following is a list of hemp parts and derivatives that can be extracted from them:

  • Hemp Seeds: The seeds of the hemp plant are highly nutritious, rich in amino acids, magnesium, and vitamins. They do not cause any psychoactive effects because they contain no THC. They can be added to edibles such as breakfast cereals. Hemp seeds are used to make flour, oil, and beer
  • Hemp Flower: Hemp flower is a vital part of the plant because it contains the medicinal compound CBD. Some hemp farmers grow the crop in order to harvest the flowers found abundantly in female hemp plants. When smoked, hemp flower can improve appetite, relieve pain, and reduce anxiety
  • Hemp Extract: Hemp extract contains matter from the stalk, seeds, flowers, and leaves of the hemp plant. An example of hemp extract is CBD oil, which is extracted from the flowers and can be processed to retain all the cannabinoids, flavonoids, and terpenes or distilled to retain a single cannabinoid
  • Hemp Oil: Hemp oil is specifically processed using the seeds of the hemp plant. It has high amounts of antioxidants, calcium, omega-3, and omega-6 fatty acids. Hemp oil can be used in cooking and in topical formulas. Hemp oil is also used to make biofuels and lubricants for automobiles
  • Hemp Hearts: Hemp hearts come from hulled hemp seeds. They are eaten as a delicacy and can be added to edibles such as salads and yogurt
  • Hemp Milk: When hemp seeds are ground in water, hemp milk is produced. Hemp milk is an alternative to dairy products. It is an excellent source of protein, calcium, fats, and zinc. Hemp milk can be made into cheese

Is Hemp Legal in Kansas?

Hemp is legal in Kansas. The state passed HB 2167 in 2019, legalizing the cultivation, processing, and sale of industrial hemp. The state's Hemp Plan was approved by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) in 2020.

The 2014 Farm Bill approved the non-commercial cultivation of hemp by state departments of agriculture and universities. States were required to set up Hemp Pilot Programs in conjunction with the USDA. Universities and higher institutions were granted permission to conduct research into hemp but were not allowed to market their products. Because hemp was still listed as a Schedule 1 substance, interstate transport was strictly prohibited under the 2014 Farm Bill.

With the enactment of the 2018 Farm Bill, hemp was delisted as a Schedule 1 substance. Hemp became an agricultural crop, and cultivators were eligible for federal insurance and research programs from which they had previously been barred. Hemp can now be cultivated, processed, and sold without legal consequences, provided the persons or businesses involved are licensed by the relevant state agency. Under the 2018 Farm Bill, hemp and its derivatives may only possess a THC content of 0.3% or less. States and Indian territories were authorized to regulate hemp cultivation in their jurisdictions and issue licenses to growers, processors, and retailers. The Kansas Department of Agriculture (KDA) is responsible for hemp regulation and licensing in the state.

In 2018, the Alternative Crop Research Act was passed in Kansas. It authorized the cultivation of hemp only for research purposes. This meant that only the Kansas Department of Agriculture or universities in the state could grow industrial hemp. Also, in 2018, SB 282 was signed into law in Kansas, which excluded hemp-derived CBD oil from the legal definition of marijuana in the state. This means that patients with approved medical conditions can access low-THC CBD oil.

What Hemp Products are Legal in Kansas?

Hemp can only be cultivated for food with a license from the KDA in Kansas. Smokable hemp flowers are prohibited in the state. Drivers and truckers are not permitted to smoke hemp while going about their duties. Public smoking of hemp is equally unlawful.

In Kansas, qualifying patients who are minors can access hemp-derived CBD products with a maximum THC level of 5%. Other residents of the state can only use hemp-derived CBD products with no THC at all. Legal and available hemp-derived products in Kansas include gummies, oils, topicals, and sublingual tinctures.

Can a Municipality Restrict Hemp Cultivation or Processing in Kansas?

Kansas law does not give municipalities in the state the power to restrict hemp cultivation or processing. Cities and municipalities may nevertheless pass ordinances regarding the zoning and operating hours of hemp establishments within their borders.

How to Get a License to Grow or Process Hemp in Kansas

The KDA issues Industrial Hemp Producer Licenses in Kansas. Applicants must provide the following information on the KDA's online application portal:

  • The applicant's full name and date of birth
  • The applicant's valid address, telephone number, and email address
  • A description of the proposed hemp cultivation site, including its GPS location and a full map of the cultivation site
  • A description of the particular variety or varieties of hemp to be cultivated
  • Information about the exact number of acres proposed for the cultivation site
  • A fingerprint card, which must be submitted to the Kansas Bureau of Investigation and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)

Applications for Hemp Grower or Producer licenses in Kansas must be submitted by March 15 each year. There is a $100 application fee payable to the KDA at the point of submission. Applicants and each participant in a business entity applying for a Kansas hemp license must undergo a state and federal fingerprint test. This is required to ascertain whether they have been convicted of any drug-related offenses during the 10-year period prior to their applications. A drug-related conviction can render an applicant ineligible for a Kansas hemp license.

Each participant in a business entity other than the main applicant must pay a $47 application fee. When a license application has been approved, the applicant will be notified by the KDA. A license fee of $1,200 must be paid to the KDA within 15 days of license approval. Non-payment of the fee within the stipulated time may result in the revocation of the provisional license. Kansas hemp licenses expire by December 31 of the year they are issued and must be renewed to remain valid.

How Much Does a License to Grow or Process Hemp Cost in Kansas?

The Kansas Department of Agriculture charges a $1,200 fee for the issuance of Hemp Producer licenses. The license fee is payable within 15 days of provisional license approval.

How to Grow Hemp in Kansas

Hemp farmers in Kansas can only cultivate the varieties of hemp plants approved by the KDA. They are prohibited from growing hemp crops within residential areas or close to public schools and recreational facilities. Licensees interested in cultivating hemp for CBD processing may obtain feminized seeds, as these are guaranteed to yield abundant amounts of cannabidiol. Hemp varieties cultivated for CBD produce more buds. The KDA mandates all hemp farmers in the state to cultivate only certified seeds. Before planting their hemp crops, hemp farmers in Kansas must secure a certificate of analysis from a tasting laboratory attesting that the hemp seed due for planting has a THC content not exceeding 0.3%. Within 15 days of planting hemp crops, farmers must submit the following information to the KDA:

  • Details of the proposed use of the crop being cultivated, whether it is for seed, oil, or fiber
  • The precise number of acres cultivated
  • The GPS coordinates of the approved cultivation site
  • The particular hemp variety cultivated on the site
  • The precise number of acres planted in each lot

The ideal temperature for growing hemp seeds is between 45-55 degrees Fahrenheit. It is important that the soil is kept loose and easily drained. Hemp seeds can be drilled to a depth of up to 1 inch. When it is cultivated for fiber, hemp crops can be placed in thick rows. If the hemp is being grown for seed, it is advised to use rows that are less dense than those for fiber. Hemp can either be grown in open fields or in greenhouses. Greenhouse cultivation allows farmers to plant the crop all-year-round and curb the pollination of female hemp plants by male plants. It also reduces the risk of exposure to pests and weeds.

Hemp is a hardy crop and can survive even without regular rainfall or irrigation after a few weeks of planting it. However, during the first few weeks after planting, it is necessary to water the hemp seedlings. Hemp is known to grow well even in drought conditions, so watering may not be required after the sixth week. In hemp plants grown for fiber, the yellowing of the lower leaves indicates that the crop is ready for harvest. Hemp grown for the extraction of fiber is allowed to reach up to 13 feet.

Although hemp and marijuana are plants of the Cannabis sativa family, they are cultivated differently and for varied purposes. Hemp can be grown for fiber, seed, or oil, while marijuana is grown mainly for its flower. Hemp plants tend to grow taller than marijuana plants.

Where Can You Buy Hemp Flower in Kansas?

It is illegal to sell, possess, or smoke hemp flowers in Kansas. Under HB 2167, Kansas residents can only purchase hemp products made for oral or topical use. Hemp cigars, cigarettes, and vape cartridges are illegal in the state. Licensed retailers are not allowed to sell paraphernalia. Residents of Kansas are prohibited from shipping smokable hemp flowers from other states.

Hemp vs THC

Hemp plants contain minimal amounts of THC. THC is the compound that gives cannabis users the feeling of intoxication. THC-free hemp products are legal in Kansas.

Hemp vs CBD

The hemp plant contains many chemical compounds. One of the most prominent of these compounds is CBD, which is non-psychoactive and highly medicinal. Some farmers grow industrial hemp purely for the extraction of CBD. Hemp-derived CBD products are legal in Kansas, but they must have no THC content. However, qualifying patients in Kansas can access hemp-derived CBD oil with a THC content of 5% or less.

Hemp Applications

Hemp has a broad range of technological applications. They include the following:

  • Hemp Bioplastics: Cellulose and lipids extracted from the stalks and seeds of hemp plants are used to make bioplastics. Hemp bioplastics are known to be biodegradable, which ensures that their use is sustainable and environmentally friendly. Hemp bioplastics can be recycled
  • Automotive Parts: Hemp fiber is increasingly becoming a material of choice in the automotive industry. It is used to make dashboards, floor mats, door panels, and upholstery. Hemp is also used to produce supercapacitors for electric vehicles
  • Hemp Biofuels: Hemp biofuels are processed by means of cellulolysis, which converts plant cellulose into sugars. The sugars are then fermented and turned into ethanol or biodiesel. Hemp biofuels are regarded as sustainable alternatives to fossil fuels. They are less flammable than fossil fuels
  • Hemp Fabrics: Hemp is used in making fabrics. As a raw material, hemp is cheaper to cultivate than other fiber-producing crops like cotton or flax. Hemp fabrics protect the skin from the sun's ultraviolet rays
  • Hemp Paper: Hemp paper is made from the fiber or pulp of the hemp plant. Hemp has a higher cellulose content than wood, and this makes hemp a preferred option for paper production

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