Bills authorizing cannabidiol products, new state park go to governor

photo by: Peter Hancock

Gov. Jeff Colyer speaks with reporters in this file photo from his first day in office, Feb. 1, 2018.

? A bill that would authorize the sale of cannabidiol products, also known as CBD, a derivative of hemp plants, is now on its way to Gov. Jeff Colyer.

The Kansas Senate on Thursday gave final passage to Senate Bill 282, which amends the definition of “marijuana” in state law to specifically exempt CBD products that contain 0 percent THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana.

Advocates for the bill say CBD is believed to have medical benefits, particularly for people who suffer from certain seizure disorders.

Lawmakers have debated numerous bills over the last several years calling for legalization of medical marijuana, hemp oil, and even industrial hemp, but none has ever passed through both chambers.

The bill is believed to be the first legislation in Kansas legalizing any product derived from cannabis since the state first banned it in 1927. The bill passed the Senate, 39-0. It passed the House on April 6, 120-0.

The CBD bill was one of several bills lawmakers dealt with on the first day of their scheduled nine-day wrap-up session.

Among those that prompted more controversy was Senate Bill 331, which, among other things, would designate the Flint Hills Trail in eastern Kansas as a state park.

The hiking and biking trail is one of many that have developed throughout the United States in recent years by converting abandoned railroad rights of way into public recreation easements.

But the “rails-to-trails” movement has been more controversial in Kansas because of the history of railroads in this state. During the westward expansion era of the late 19th century, the state of Kansas condemned large sections of what had been privately held farmland to make way for railroad development.

Opponents of the trails movement have argued that under terms of those condemnations, the rights of way were supposed to revert back to the landowners if they ever ceased to be used as railways.

The Flint Hills Trail, a 117-mile path that stretches from Herington in the west to Osawatomie in the east, is being developed by a private, nonprofit organization. But a number of landowners along the trail reportedly have complained about vandalism along the trail and trash being strewn in the area.

Supporters of the bill, however, argued that putting it in state hands will enable the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism to provide security and maintenance along the path.

The bill passed the Senate Thursday, 27-12. It had earlier passed the House April 6, 96-23.