Kansans for Hemp co-founder Kelly Ripple said Friday state statute ought to be brought into compliance with federal law by legalizing products with up to 0.3% of the psychoactive ingredient in cannabis.
The 2018 farm bill signed by President Donald Trump authorized development of industrial hemp nationwide. It also exempted hemp from Schedule 1 definitions of marijuana in all 50 states. Essentially, the federal government legalized sale of 0.3% THC products.
Ripple said Kansas law enforcement restricted sale of cannabinoid products online or purchased elsewhere with as little as one hundredth of a percentage point of tetrahydrocannabinol or THC.
“It is time Kansas remove the unnecessary restriction of zero tolerance, especially given the reality farmers are allowed to now grow hemp domestically,” Ripple said.
Katie Whisman, executive officer of the Kansas Bureau of Investigation, said the idea was unsound. She said the state agency was opposed to Senate Bill 449 from a policy perspective and given financial and operational consequences of implementation.
“The threshold of legal versus illegal becomes then a question of science,” she said. “SB 449 not only applies to plant material, it would also apply to edibles, beverages and oils.”
Whisman said it would likely fall to the KBI Forensic Science Laboratory to performance analysis of all evidence samples to determine what products were under the legal limit and which crossed into illegal territory.
It could cost the state $682,000 in the first year of implementation and $487,000 per year going forward, the state budget director said.
The Kansas bill will go beyond federal law and can objectively be characterized as a vehicle for drug legalization, the KBI executive said.
“We remain adamantly opposed to any legislation that would propose to legalize marijuana and high concentration products,” Whisman said.
Ed Klumpp, a lobbyist for three law enforcement organizations in Kansas, said the legislation was “fraught with potential unintended consequences.”
The difficulty of field testing hemp products will make investigation of criminal cases more complex, he said.
“This will affect our ability to develop probable cause and perhaps even reasonable suspicion in other criminal cases, possibly resulting in suppression of evidence in a wide variety of criminal cases,” Klumpp said.