Kansas Governor Laura Kelly signed legislation into law allowing the production of hemp.
According to the governor’s office, to further support Kansas’ agricultural economy and provide farmers with an option for diversification, Governor Laura Kelly signed the Senate Substitute for House Bill 2167 today, establishing the Commercial Industrial Hemp Program.
“The Commercial Industrial Hemp Program represents a significant step forward for our agricultural economy. It will provide another crop option for Kansas farmers in the coming years,” Governor Kelly said. “I’m proud that Kansas is moving forward with this program and I look forward to working with the Kansas Department of Agriculture, United States Department of Agriculture and others to encourage growth in this new industry.”
Senate Substitute for House Bill 2167 requires the Kansas Department of Agriculture (KDA), in consultation with the governor and attorney general, to submit a plan to the United States Department of Agriculture outlining how the state will monitor and regulate the commercial production of industrial hemp in Kansas, in accordance with federal law. The commercial growing program will replace the existing research program once it is finalized and approved by USDA.
“This is the first step toward Kansas developing a plan to allow for commercial hemp production, introducing an option for diversification for Kansas farmers,” Secretary Mike Beam said. “We support new and innovative opportunities for agriculture growth, and this legislation allows Kansas to seek approval from USDA for advancing industrial hemp in Kansas.”
This year is the first year that industrial hemp can be grown in Kansas, and at this time it is only allowed within research programs as allowed by the 2014 Farm Bill. The opportunity to expand cultivation of industrial hemp for commercial use was made possible as part of the 2018 Farm Bill. Signing the bill today allows Kansas to begin development of the regulations for commercial use of industrial hemp.
“In recent years, Kansas farmers have faced significant challenges – including weather and trade tensions,” Kelly said. “I’m committed to doing all I can to support them and provide opportunities for diversification. This program provides another tool in the toolbox for Kansas farmers.”
Additionally, the bill establishes prohibitions on the production and marketing of specific products and establishes waste disposal requirements for industrial hemp processors. This legislation will become effective upon its publication in the Kansas Register.
This brings the total number of bills signed in the 2019 Legislative Session to 36, with one being vetoed. By law, the Kansas governor has 10 calendar days to sign bills into law, veto bills or allow bills to become law without her signature.