Marijuana & CBD Laws in Kansas [Fully Explained]

As the CBD market proliferates, so too does the level of misinformation. One of the most pernicious myths surrounds the legality of the cannabinoid. There is a belief in some quarters that cannabidiol is legal in all 50 states. You will see this statement printed on many CBD selling websites as if it were fact.

In reality, CBD legality boils down to individual states. The primary misconception is that the 2018 Farm Bill permitted the sale and use of cannabidiol. It does not! What part of the bill did was remove hemp from the list of controlled substances. You are now allowed to cultivate the crop in the United States. However, there are caveats.

Namely, the industrial hemp a farmer grows must contain a maximum of 0.3% THC. Also, each American state must submit a pilot program for the U.S. Department of Agriculture to approve. The vast majority of states have done so, but it is not a unanimous action. What the Farm Bill doesn’t do is legalize cannabinoids. As a consequence, CBD is not explicitly legal.

While most states turn a blind eye and allow CBD sale to continue uninterrupted, it is not the case in every location. Indeed, only a handful of states have bothered to pass legislation to legalize the compound officially. As a result, it is not a guarantee that CBD in Kansas is allowed and overlooked by the authorities. Let’s find out the real story now.

Is CBD Oil Legal in Kansas?

The answer is complicated because there is no black and white legislation in place. The seemingly ‘official’ line is that residents of Kansas can buy CBD oil with 0% THC. As those who extract cannabinoids from hemp know, guaranteeing absolutely zero THC is incredibly tricky. In essence, you can purchase broad-spectrum CBD oil in Kansas, but not full-spectrum. CBD isolate is also, in theory, permissible.

Going back to the Farm Bill, the state of Kansas decided that the legislation didn’t legalize CBD. As a result, state lawmakers assumed that cannabidiol remained illegal. On May 14, 2018, state Governor Jeff Colyer signed Senate Bill 282. It exempted CBD oil from the definition of marijuana. Technically, CBD oil was now legal in Kansas. However, as THC remained banned, any product containing traces of the intoxicating compound remained illegal.

It was a confusing time for hemp and CBD advocates, manufacturers, sellers, and consumers. The 2018 Farm Bill changed nothing in this regard. However, there were positive steps in 2019. The first, known as Claire and Lola’s Bill, was passed in May 2019. HB 2244 is the official name. It is a protection against prosecution for possession of specific products in Kansas. However, it is a very narrow bill with limited impact, and we discuss it a little later. The law that passed a couple of months later is more relevant.

What Are the Current CBD Laws in Kansas?

Today’s CBD laws in Kansas are shaped by Senate Substitute for House Bill 2167, signed in July 2019. It established a Commercial Industrial Hemp Program following the 2018 Farm Bill. Prospective hemp farmers can grow their crop as long as it doesn’t exceed a THC level of 0.3%.

HB2167 generated a tremendous amount of excitement amongst the CBD community in Kansas. Was it finally legal to purchase full-spectrum CBD oil? Alas, it was yet another false alarm. CBD sellers were gearing up for a major promotional push. However, a Kansas Bureau of Investigation official wrote a warning. He said that “full-spectrum is not legal.” Instead, “CBD isolate or CBD containing no other controlled substance is what was carved out as legal.”

It was a statement that sent shockwaves throughout Kansas’ CBD brands. Despite several pieces of legislation, nothing has changed in the last year. There have been no significant legislative changes since. As a result, the law in Kansas states that CBD oil is legal, but only if it has 0% THC.

It is a genuinely bizarre situation. While most states don’t expressly permit CBD, they don’t implement nonsensical laws. They generally allow CBD products containing up to 0.3% THC. There is no chance of getting an intoxicating high from 0.3% THC. Attempting to consume a gallon of cannabidiol would likely cause adverse effects such as diarrhea!

There is also an increasing level of research that shows the benefits of the ‘entourage effect.’ It is a phenomenon whereby the cannabinoids and terpenes in cannabis and hemp work better together. You are more likely to get an effect from a full-spectrum CBD oil than its isolate counterpart. The latter has uses, however, and, along with broad-spectrum oil, is all Kansas residents can legally get.

Does Kansas Have a Medical Marijuana Program?

Given the state’s stance on CBD oil, it is no surprise to learn that Kansas doesn’t have an official MMJ program. Instead, it has an incredibly restrictive law that technically permits low-THC oil but makes it incredibly hard to attain. Kansas first prohibited marijuana in 1927 and hasn’t relented since.

The state has seen several failed attempts to introduce a proper MMJ program. Democrat David Haley pre-filed Senate Bill 9 in January 2013. Known as the Cannabis Compassion and Care Act, it permitted the use of medical marijuana for specific debilitating conditions. If passed, eligible patients could use weed, and own 12 plants or six ounces. The equivalent bill stalled in the Kansas Senate in 2015.

The Shona Banda case generated a lot of publicity in 2015. She has Crohn’s disease and used MMJ to treat it. Law enforcement arrested her, and Banda faced five felony counts. Child Protective Services also took her son away and sent him to live with her ex-husband. Banda faced up to 30 years in prison.

In the end, she accepted a plea deal in 2017 and moved to Washington, where she completed a year of ‘mail-in probation.’ She subsequently filed a lawsuit against the state of Kansas and several agencies regarding the removal of her son from her care. However, a federal judge dismissed the unfortunate woman’s case.

Claire & Lola’s Law

The only thing Kansas has that resembles an MMJ program is Claire and Lola’s Law. Governor Laura Kelly signed the bill in May 2019. It allows ‘profoundly ill’ people to legally access CBD oil with a maximum THC content of 5%. However, it is only open to individuals who can prove they found no relief with pharmaceutical medication.

Also, it necessitates that patients have a physician’s letter 15 months before buying the oil. The doctor’s note must also state that the patient is profoundly ill. No wonder Banda now lives in Washington! On the plus side, patients can only use third-party lab-tested products.

The law takes its name from the tragic case of Claire and Lola Hartley. Both children had a rare condition called microcephaly, where the brain doesn’t develop fully. Sadly, Claire died in 2018, aged 17. Lola passed away in 2019, aged 13.

There is potentially hope on the horizon, at least. Governor Kelly recently said she wants to sign a bill that legalizes medical marijuana in Kansas. State lawmakers planned to have their most serious debate yet in 2020. However, the current situation means attention is likely shifted elsewhere for now.

In Kansas’ case, geography could dictate its MMJ future. Colorado and Oklahoma border the state. The latter is considered as a conservative partner to Kansas, yet it legalized MMJ in 2018. Kelly was involved in both CBD laws in 2019 and represents the state’s best chance to legalize cannabis.

Industrial Hemp in Kansas

HB2167 permitted the growth of industrial hemp in line with the 2018 Farm Bill. It was great news for farmers who finally had the opportunity to cash in on the popularity of CBD. While hemp has many excellent uses, the vast majority of cultivation relates to the cannabidiol industry.

The lesser-known bill, SB263, signed in 2018, laid the foundations. It allowed the Kansas Department of Agriculture (KDA) to cultivate and promote the research and development of hemp. It also made provisions for a pilot program in Russell County. HB2167 expanded upon this legislation.

The KDA submitted its plan to the USDA in January 2020. A recent announcement on the KDA’s website said it would continue to operate under the Industrial Hemp Research Program until its new program is approved and established. Within weeks of HB2167, farmers began preparing for a potential goldmine.

By August 2019, the KDA had already issued 207 growers licenses. The existing rules limit each license to 80 acres of hemp. However, it did not prevent growers from holding multiple licenses! Kansas has enormous potential for hemp cultivation. It has an estimated 47 million tillable farm acres. At present, only a couple of thousand acres are used for hemp. Within the state, approximately 90% of production is specifically for the CBD market.

Nationally, we have heard reports of farmers receiving $100,000 per acre! This dwarfs what one can expect for an acre of soybeans, corn, or wheat. However, there are risks attached, especially when you grow outdoors. For a start, all plants that contain more than 0.3% THC are destroyed. Also, if a neighbor sprays weed killer on your field, it could seep into your crop. Your plants will fail the lab tests, and you earn nothing.

How Do I Purchase CBD Oil in Kansas?

As things stand, you are only on completely safe ground if you use CBD oil in Kansas with 0% THC. There is an exception thanks to Claire and Lola’s Law, but it is so restrictive as to be almost useless. Your best bet is to find an online vendor that sells CBD isolate and broad-spectrum CBD oil. You need a guarantee that there is no THC in the product. The only way to achieve that is by reading a brand’s third-party lab reports.

Physical CBD stores in Kansas are also under pressure and must show this proof. If you find a shop that doesn’t, we advise you to look elsewhere. Otherwise, you have no way of knowing what the THC content is. Your only option, in that case, is to get the product tested yourself. One thing you can’t legally do in Kansas is to buy CBD in another state and bring it home.

It is preposterous that Kansas residents can grow hemp plants with up to 0.3% THC yet can’t sell them within the state! As anyone who has tried cannabinoid extraction knows, reducing THC content to zero is a complicated and expensive process. However, this is what companies wishing to sell CBD in Kansas face at present.

Final Thoughts on Marijuana and CBD Laws in Kansas

For the record, possession of any amount of cannabis in Kansas is a misdemeanor office. You could face up to six months in prison. The sale or distribution of up to 25 grams is a felony with 14-51 months in jail the penalty. There is also the small matter of a $300,000 fine! Whether the Kansas authorities will arrest people for using low-THC CBD oil is unclear.

There isn’t a concerted effort to ‘crackdown’ on buyers or sellers. There are plenty of CBD shops operating in Kansas at present. One business in Lawrence had its store raided twice and faced felony drug charges in 2019. However, the shop, which sells hemp flowers, had all charges dropped against it.

Hopefully, the state of Kansas clears up the muddied waters surrounding CBD oil. Indeed, Governor Kelly has an appetite for legalizing not only cannabidiol but also medical marijuana. Until then, you can technically only purchase CBD oil in Kansas if it contains no THC. Make sure you ask for third-party lab reports whenever you buy a CBD product