But the 2018 legislative session that ended earlier this month shook the state’s legal landscape. So what has changed and what hasn’t?
CBD is now legal
Quick recap: Cannabidiol, or CBD, is one of the compounds in the cannabis plant that doesn’t get people high, and that advocates say has medical benefits. Some studies have found it helps people suffering from seizures.
Shops in Kansas were certainly selling it and people were buying, but both were technically crimes because whether they get you high or not, CBD products counted as marijuana under Kansas law.
So this year — after years of pleas from the family members of people suffering seizures — lawmakers tweaked the law.
CBD is now legal after Gov. Jeff Colyer signed legislation Monday. And unlike some states — Missouri, for instance, legalized it with tight limits on either who can sell it or who can buy it — Kansas opted for broad access.
Hemp is back
Growing this crop used to be legal and common. In 2014, the federal government began allowing it again in limited circumstances. Hemp is in a bunch of products — fabrics, foods, building materials, you name it — but right now the U.S. mostly imports from places like Canada and China.
Hemp comes from the same plant species as marijuana, just a different variety with taller stalks (to maximize fiber yield) than the one people use to get high.
Kansas is taking the federal government up on its offer to allow regulated pilot programs for growing, researching and selling hemp. The state agriculture department is working on finding farmers and setting up that program.
Among the questions they’ll be exploring are which hemp seeds best suit Kansas growing conditions and how drought-tolerant they are.
Marijuana is still a no-no
So here’s a good rule of thumb now for cannabis-related products in Kansas: if it gets you high, it’s definitely illegal.
At least 30 states let people use marijuana. In most of them, you need a doctor’s prescription.
Celia Llopis-Jepsen is a reporter for the Kansas News Service, a collaboration of KCUR, Kansas Public Radio, KMUW and High Plains Public Radio covering health, education and politics. You can reach her on Twitter @Celia_LJ. Kansas News Service stories and photos may be republished at no cost with proper attribution and a link back to the original post.