Could Hemp be a New Cash Crop?

Kansas legislators who have resisted proposals to legalize marijuana for medical use are advancing a proposal aimed at making the state an industrial hemp powerhouse.

The state House gave first-round approval Friday on a voice vote to a bill that would allow state universities and colleges to grow industrial hemp and conduct research on it. The House plans to take a final vote Monday to determine whether the measure goes to the Senate.

A 2014 federal law allowed states to set up such programs. Supporters said hemp could become a big crop for Kansas farmers.

A majority of states have legalized medical marijuana, but even limited proposals have foundered in Kansas.

The House bill would define industrial hemp as cannabis containing 0.3 percent or less of the high-producing chemical THC.