Kansas Lawmakers Discuss Proposal to Jail Farmers Growing ‘Hot Hemp’

Local prosecutors in Kansas working in collaboration with one lobbyist and law enforcement are discussing an amendment that could send farmers to prison for more than a decade. The amendment, as proposed by the Kansas County and District Attorneys Association, the Kansas Bureau of Investigation and Stand Up for Kansas executive director, would kick into effect after a lab test measuring whether hemp products had more than 1% THC content is conducted.

Currently, the state of Kansas and the U.S. Department of Agriculture permit the harvesting, processing and marketing of hemp with no more than 0.3% THC.

Under state law, first-time offenders found with hemp products that contain more than 0.3% THC shall be charged with misdemeanors. For a second offense, offenders shall be charged with a low-grade felony that may result in probation.

The proposed amendment would retain these sentencing standards but add another penalty for third-time offenders so law enforcement could up the ante for those who traffic higher-level THC products. According to the revision, the new penalty could lead to a sentence of 154 months.

Katie Whisman, Stand Up for Kansas’ leader, explained that this new metric needed to be implemented. This is despite the presence of significantly higher levels of THC in cannabis demanded by recreational users in Missouri and Colorado.

For instance, Greenlight Marijuana Dispensary, located 750 feet from the Kansas border in Kansas City, provides marijuana ranging from 16% to 30% THC. The dispensary offers different choices, including Gary Payton budlets with 26% THC, Platinum Jelly Cake at 25%, Space Cowboy budlets at 24.8% and Baja Fog at 23.6%.

Additionally, 24 states have legalized recreational marijuana consumption while 16 states have authorized medical cannabis programs. Kansas has done neither.

The proposed amendment is eliciting mixed reactions, with Havana Senator Virgil Peck welcoming it and noting that he supported it to ensure that hemp and hemp producers remained in their lane. Peck added that he understood the resistance to this suggestion from those advocating for the hemp industry. Soon after this, he revoked his commitment to endorse poultry and conservation district measures presented in the House.

Others, such as Agra Representative Ken Rahjes, explained that he wouldn’t agree to add the amendment to a legislation.

If this hemp amendment is approved for placement in a conference committee measure, the move would distort the legislative process. It is expected that negotiators will resume talks on hemp regulations when the legislature reconvenes at the end of this month.

Entities that serve clients in the hemp industry, such as Astrotech Corp. (NASDAQ: ASTC), will be watching these developments in Kansas to see how they pan out and affect the trajectory of the  overall hemp industry.

NOTE TO INVESTORS: The latest news and updates relating to Astrotech Corp. (NASDAQ: ASTC) are available in the company’s newsroom at https://cnw.fm/ASTC

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