State senator Dan Kerschen, representing the 26th District, proposed a bill in January that would try to limit the growing research into industrial hemp use in Kansas.
Proponents of SB 263 claim that state agencies cannot differentiate between industrial hemp and illegally cultivated marijuana.
Last year, the Kansas Legislature passed the Kansas Agricultural Industry Growth Act 103-18 in favor of the research and development of industrial hemp to, in the future, grow the Kansas agricultural industry.
Agriculture is a staple industry in the state of Kansas; the vast array of grains that Kansas soil offers allows for hundreds of different agricultural industries to flourish.
In the latter half of the 19th century until the beginnings of the “War on Drugs,” Kansas had a different crop to fuel the various agricultural industries.
According to Kelly Rippel, vice president and co-founder of Kansans for Hemp on Ministry of Hemp, the cultivation of industrial hemp and hemp products drove Kansas to take the title of number one in bushels per acre in 1863.
Rippel said hemp grows very well in Kansan soil and is proven to be helpful as a rotational crop to soybean and corn. Rippel also said wild hemp grows so well in Kansan soil that in the 1970s, there were multiple studies in the attempt to find a reliable eradication method.
Rippel looked into these studies and asked a crucial question: “Why would we be killing something that grows?”
Rippel continued with the idea that industrial hemp could provide an opportunity for Kansas to reach into 10 or more new industries and tens of thousands of new products to put on the state’s market.
The 2014 Farm Bill under President Obama provided limited legalization for the farming of industrial hemp and allowed for hemp products to flourish on the American market. CBD American Shaman, located on 11th Street in Manhattan, provides an assortment of hemp and CBD products to the community.
CBD American Shaman arrived in Manhattan in October 2017. Local and out-of-town individuals began visiting in an attempt to find relief for their different ailments.
One customer of CBD American Shaman, Barb Crismas, was in a head-on collision in 2010 where she sustained multiple injuries to her back, arm and specifically her elbow. In the crash, Crismas’ elbow became embedded with hundreds of glass shards that damaged skin, muscle tissues and nerve endings in the area.
Crismas said she has endured muscle spasms and limited control of her left hand and arm due to the damage from the glass. She said her doctors prescribed her two medications for pain and two muscle relaxers to help with the spasms and loss of control in her arm.
“Last Saturday I sucked down nine pain pills and a couple muscle relaxers, and I was still in bed,” Crismas said.
Crismas said she has begun using lotion infused with CBD oils to help with the spasms and pain in her arm.
“I’ve got more use and more control thanks to that guy out of my elbow and this hand than I have ever been,” Crismas said.
She said she has also begun using ingestable CBD supplements to help with the pain from her other injuries.
CBD and hemp products could be a great start back into the medical marijuana and industrial hemp industry in Kansas, but it is only one step in the bigger picture, Rippel said.
Rippel compared CBD products to extracting vitamin C from oranges to treat scurvy. Rippel said CBD treats symptoms; it is medical marijuana that genuinely makes a difference in the lives of individuals diagnosed with chronic pain, epilepsy, cerebral palsy and other ailments.
Kansas’ long-standing agricultural tradition has an opportunity to expand into a new, feasible industry, if the legislature will allow it.