Kansans advocate for industrial hemp

FILE - In this Oct. 5, 2013 file photo, a volunteer walks through a hemp field at a farm in Springfield, Colo.One of Oregon’s first hemp farmers says a lack of seed is making it tough to get going. Josephine County Commissioner Cheryl Walker says that fertile seed is expensive and hard to come by, because the federal government prohibits imports. Harvesting machinery is expensive, and there is no plant in Oregon to process the plants into fiber, seed and oil. (AP Photo/P. Solomon Banda)

TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – Farmers and advocates met today at the statehouse to show their support for what they argue is a big cash crop: Hemp.

A planned rally fizzled after organizers failed to get the necessary permit. Still, a small group stuck around, talking to lawmakers in hopes they would listen.

Advocates argue that the crop can generate cash that farmers want and tax revenue the state desperately needs.

While cultivation and growth of industrial hemp is illegal in Kansas, there are a number of hemp-based products you can buy.

A house bill was passed 103-18 vote in March, but it’s at a standstill in the senate. There is no hearing and it’s doubtful anything will be done this session.

“We had huge support in there and I feel like this bill is just falling on death’s ears at this point,” says Jaron Cromer, a farmer advocating for the plant. “I feel like, really, that we’re being ignored and I would like to see this bill picked up by the senate and proceeded forward.”

Lawmakers have really shifted their focus away from bills like this to funding the next state budget, as well as figuring out a new school finance formula.

 

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