Most Kansans not legally cleared to grow hemp

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The Kansas Department of Agriculture says although hemp is now federally classified as a crop, Kansans can't grow it yet.

Only farmers selected by the state for its research program will be allowed to grow hemp. The state's regulations for industrial hemp are headed for a public hearing on Wednesday. That's when hemp growers will have the opportunity to talk to lawmakers about their concerns.

After the hearing, farmers can apply for the industrial hemp license and pay a $1,000-per-acre fee for farming. That fee is something Rick Gash is planning to bring up at Wednesday's hearing.

"The seed is not cheap. If you're growing for CBD, you could be paying $8,000 a pound, and it takes three pounds at minimum per acre, so, $24,000 an acre," Gash says.

He says the return on hemp can run about $40,000 an acre.

It's not only the growers who need a license. Anyone involved in processing or distributing will have to apply for a license.

"So you know who's going to be involved with growing it, harvesting it and storing it," Gash says.

Lawmakers and hemp farmers agree, regulations are new and can be expected to change over time.

"The first two years as a pilot program, there's still a lot of unknown and we're expecting to learn a lot by doing it," Gash says.

The state says so far, 75 farmers have expressed interest in participating in the program to grow hemp.

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