Industrial hemp backers narrow proposal for Kansas research

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. (AP) – Advocates of industrial hemp production in Kansas are pursuing a new legislative proposal for allowing state universities to research it.

The new bill is narrower than a measure opposed by law enforcement officials last year. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that the Senate Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee had a hearing Tuesday.

The new measure would allow state universities to research industrial hemp but prohibit its cultivation outside state-sanctioned test plots.

The House approved a bill last year to allow research and commercial cultivation with industrial hemp growers licensed by the state Department of Agriculture. The measure stalled in the Senate because of law enforcement opposition.

A Kansas Bureau of Investigation spokeswoman said it is less concerned about this year’s bill, and several law enforcement groups did not formally oppose it.

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