Is Weed Legal In Kansas?
No. Recreational marijuana and medical cannabis are both illegal in Kansas.
Before the 2018 legislative session, Kansas was one of the strictest states in the U.S. when it came to prohibiting cannabis, without a regulatory program and full of punitive laws. Kansas first prohibited marijuana in 1927, as most states west of the Mississippi River banned the plant as a result of citizens’ growing fear of “reefer madness.” Since this ban, Kansas has barely changed its stance on the plant until very recent legislative sessions.
On April 20, 2018, Republican Gov. Jeff Colyer signed into law SB 263, also known as the Alternative Crop Research Act. The Kansas Department of Agriculture (KDA), in collaboration with Kansas’ public universities, would launch a program to investigate the viability of industrial hemp, defined as cannabis with no more than 0.3% THC content as a crop. SB 263 required the KDA to draft final regulations regarding the Industrial Hemp Research Program by Dec. 31, 2018, and will require review again by July 1, 2022.
Shortly after, on May 24, 2018, Colyer signed SB 282, which explicitly amended the legal definition of marijuana to exempt cannabidiol (CBD), thus legalizing broad access to CBD products so long as they contain zero THC. This makes access tricky, as most CBD products contain at least trace amounts of THC.
Where is it safe to purchase and consume?
Kansas weed laws currently permit residents to purchase CBD products either in stores or by ordering from an online vendor. CBD products are legal to possess and buy as long as the product contains zero THC. Individuals can buy CBD products in the form of oils, powders, pills, or lotions. These products are considered herbal supplements.
Under current Kansas marijuana laws, it is a crime to possess any amount of cannabis with trace amounts of cannabinoids other than CBD. The first violation is a class A misdemeanor, which is punishable by either a fine of up to $2,500 and/or one year imprisonment. Subsequent offenses for marijuana possession are felonies, punishable up to 26 months in prison with potential fines.
In Kansas, getting caught with marijuana for personal use is a class A misdemeanor for the first and second convictions. According to state law, this is punishable by jail time for up to one year and/or up to $2,500 in fines. A third violation can earn a sentence of 10-52 months in prison and a fine depending on the circumstances of the arrest by law enforcement. Possessing cannabis with intent to sell marijuana comes with more severe criminal penalties.
Kansas law places no restrictions on where CBD oil can be consumed. CBD may not be smoked or vaporized in flower form, as many cannabis consumption accessories are criminalized as drug paraphernalia.
Only license holders participating in Kansas’ Industrial Hemp Research Program are permitted to grow hemp. The application window for a license to participate in the program as a grower, processor, or distributor ended in June 2019. Applications for the 2020 Industrial Hemp Program are currently being changed and updated, but will be available in Fall 2019.
Cultivating cannabis is a felony, punishable by up to 15 years in prison and hefty fines (the prison sentence and fines are determined by the number of plants and/or the number of offenses). Kansas takes cultivating cannabis so seriously that even possession of paraphernalia, such as grow lights, carries harsh penalties. Under Kansas weed laws, possession of paraphernalia used to cultivate five or more cannabis plants is punishable by up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine.
Medical Marijuana Registry
There is no medical marijuana program in Kansas, therefore there is no state regulatory body or registry information.
Kansas has no state-regulated medical program, but individuals can buy CBD products in the legalized forms that contain zero THC.
Any individual can buy CBD products. There is no requirement to be a Kansas resident or to possess a medical marijuana card from another state.
CBD products must be labeled by the manufacturer and seller to list a description of all contents, a statement of CBD purity, and a health warning that consuming CBD could be hazardous to a user’s health.
According to the proposed regulations for the Industrial Hemp Research Program, license holders must pay $47 per hour for an initial sample collection and sample testing fee of $250 for each lab test. The lab test is to determine whether the hemp sample contains any THC. If a sample contains greater than 0.3% THC per weight, all hemp plants in the sample’s growing area must be destroyed.
Licensing for Growers, Manufacturers, Processors and Retailers
The KDA oversees and will annually license all participants in the pilot program (with fees that vary per license type). Entities can apply to become a:
- Licensed research distributor to handle or transport hemp
- Licensed research grower to cultivate, harvest, and store hemp
- Licensed research processor to transform parts of the hemp plant into products)
Applicants are required to undergo comprehensive background checks to enroll in the program. Individuals convicted of a controlled substance felony are ineligible for licensure. The application fee for any license is $200, which is non-refundable, while the schedule of fees for an approved license is:
- Licensed research distributor: $2,000
- Licensed research grower: $1,000
- Licensed research processor:
- $3,000, if processing fiber or grain
- $6,000, if processing flower
Fees are due within 15 days of the applicant receiving notice of conditional approval.
Public educational institutions and universities in Kansas are eligible to apply for a research license and are exempt from fees.
Participants licensed by the KDA are protected from drug possession charges if they follow regulations.
The application window for the Industrial Hemp Program closed in June 2019 and, currently, no new applications are being accepted or processed. Applications for the 2020 program are expected to be available in fall 2019.
This page was last updated on August 30, 2019.