Industrial Hemp Research Program

As of Feb. 8, 2019, the permanent administrative regulations for the Industrial Hemp Research Program in Kansas are now effective. Applications for a license to participate in the Industrial Hemp Research Program as a grower, processor or distributor were due on March 1.

Program Regulations
Approved Varieties of Industrial Hemp
Summary of Fees
Important Deadlines

APPLICATIONS

What is the status of the application process?

Applications were due March 1. We have received many applications over the past few weeks and are working diligently to process them all in the order in which they were received. Unless you used certified mail or a courier with a tracking service to send your application, you will not receive notification that your application was received.

Reminder: Watch your email. If KDA has a question about your application, you will be contacted via the email address you provided. A prompt response is requested to any question sent in relation to your application.

What are the next steps?

All applications which were received by the deadline and which, upon administrative review, are found to be complete and to meet regulations will be forwarded to the Industrial Hemp Advisory Board for review of the research proposal. This review will not take place until the state and national criminal history check has been completed by the FBI. Applicants should expect that administrative review, background check and research proposal review could take at least 2-4 weeks.

The Advisory Board will make recommendations to the Secretary, and all applicants that are conditionally approved will be contacted via email. They will then have 15 business days to submit their license fees. License will be issued upon receipt of the license fees.

Program Information

Governor Jeff Colyer, M.D. signed Senate Bill 263 (now K.S.A. 2-3901 et seq.) in April 2018, which enacted the Alternative Crop Research Act allowing the Kansas Department of Agriculture to oversee the cultivation of industrial hemp in a research program. The KDA legal staff and plant protection and weed control program staff quickly began the process of developing regulations and other administrative documents and procedures to guide the Alternative Crop Research Act.

Since that time, KDA staff participated in more than 14 public outreach events across the state, which began with an open dialogue and information exchange at a public forum May 11 and included a public hearing prior to publishing the regulations. Content from those events is included on this page. 

The regulations were approved by the Department of Administration and the Attorney General and reviewed by the Legislative Joint Committee on Administrative Rules and Regulations before final regulations were published din the Kansas Register on Jan. 24, 2019. They became effective on Feb. 8, 2019, 15 days following their publication.

The Industrial Hemp Research Program became possible because the 2014 Farm Bill included a section to allow for universities and state departments of agriculture to begin cultivating industrial hemp for purposes of research, provided that the growing and cultivating of industrial hemp is allowed under state law. Industrial hemp is defined by SB 263 as all parts and varieties of the plant cannabis sativa L that contain a delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) concentration of no more than 0.3 percent on a dry weight basis.

The recent passage of the 2018 Farm Bill removed federal restrictions on the establishment of commercial hemp programs and allows individual states to develop a plan to license the commercial production of hemp and further directs the U.S. Department of Agriculture to develop a plan for states that do not do so. In order to establish a program for the commercial production of industrial hemp, Kansas must develop a plan through KDA, in consultation with the Governor and Attorney General. Any such plan must be submitted to USDA for approval.

The opportunity to grow a new specialty oilseed crop in Kansas offers potential for diversification for Kansas farmers looking for an alternative crop, or for new farming enterprises interested in cultivating industrial hemp. The Kansas agriculture industry has developed a statewide strategic growth plan in recent years, and is committed to pursuing new and innovative opportunities to grow agriculture. The research generated by participants of this new industrial hemp program will be valuable data in identifying the growth potential offered in this sector.