Panel Discusses the Impact of Marijuana on Agriculture in Kansas

Photograph: Panelists appearing via Zoom for the 'Impact of Marijuana on Agriculture in Kansas' presentation.The Business and Transactional Law Center co-sponsored a panel presentation on "The Impact of Marijuana on Agriculture in Kansas" on November 15, 2022. The panel was also hosted by two Washburn Law student organizations: the Agricultural Law Society and the Rural Practice Organization. Panelists included: David G. Evans, Senior Counsel for Cannabis Industry Victims Educating Litigators (CIVEL); Andrew T. Morehead, a CPA and financial planner; and Nyomi Barrick, a University of Maryland student pursuing a Masters of Science in Medical Cannabis Sciences & Therapeutics.

The panelists discussed the difference between industrial hemp and marijuana. They explained that it is the same plant but with different concentrations of THC. They pointed out that farmers of industrial hemp must be careful to harvest the plant at the correct time because it can acquire higher levels of THC if left too long, resulting in a harvest of illegal marijuana instead of industrial hemp. When this occurs, the farmers must destroy the harvest.

Where legal, marijuana is referred to as a utility herb because it can provide medicine, food, and clothing and has the potential to be a top competitor as a commodity crop. However, panelists pointed out that with higher tax rates and increasing supply in legal markets, marijuana may not be as lucrative as other crops, such as onions.

Discussions included the environmental problems, such as issues with the types of pesticides that may be used on the plant, with growing marijuana. In addition, marijuana requires a large amount of water, and water is increasingly in short supply in the western part of Kansas.

Washburn Law thanks the panelists for taking the time to speak with students about the impact marijuana may have on Kansas agriculture.