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The Sunflower

On growing hemp in Kansas

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A new era of agriculture is emerging, and Kansas is not among the states embracing it. Under a provision in the 2014 Farm Bill, states are authorized to grow hemp for research purposes.

More than half of all states have implemented legislation allowing universities to conduct research, but Kansas has not. HB 2329, a bill to create a research program in Kansas, died early in March in the Committee on Agriculture and Natural Resources.

Other states have passed hemp bills unanimously. The Pennsylvania Senate approved a bill for hemp, 49-0, and Virginia’s General Assembly legalized the manufacturing of industrial hemp 138-0. The overwhelming bipartisan support in other states should indicate to Kansas legislators that industrial hemp is common sense.

Hemp does not contain the psycho-active ingredient THC, like marijuana. Hemp grows with less water and pesticides than crops like cotton, and would be beneficial to our farmers as a rotation crop. Many eco-friendly products can be made with hemp ranging from paper to biodiesel. It may fight our carbon problem.

If the acclaimed benefits of hemp are only half true, wouldn’t it still be worth growing?

– Zane May, WSU senior

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