TOPEKA (KSNT) – A bill seeking to bring changes to the industrial hemp industry in Kansas is moving forward in the legislature.

Republican state Representatives Kristey Williams and Tory Blew sponsored House Bill 2168, which was first introduced in the Kansas House on Wednesday, Jan. 25. The bill seeks several changes to the industrial hemp industry including allowing the fiber, grain and seeds of industrial hemp to be used as food for livestock, poultry and pets. The bill would authorize the Secretary of Agriculture to use performance-based sampling when conducting inspections of industrial hemp.

Furthermore, the bill would relax regulations relating to industrial hemp. This includes reducing the license and registration fee for hemp producers, extending the license and registration period and exempting some providers from fingerprinting and background check requirements.

The bill’s fiscal note shows that the passage of HB 2168 into law would come with a price tag. The hiring of 4.5 full-time equivalent positions would result in $270,433 of additional fee fund expenditures in FY 2024 and the following fiscal years. The new positions are necessary to register and review 3,750 new hemp products. Additional costs associated with administering Tetrahydrocannabinol tests, administration and overhead expenses would bump the cost up to $367,837.

The Kansas Department of Agriculture estimates the bill would generate $2,100 of new fee revenue, according to the bill’s fiscal note. While the bill would create a bump in revenue for the KDA’s Feed Safety Program, it would be offset by a nearly equivalent decline in revenue for the Plant Protection Program which currently regulates hemp products.

The bill would also lead to a $1,000 reduction of KDA expenditures and a $1,500 reduction of agency revenues in FY 2024 and the following years, according to the Kansas Fire Marshal. This is due to fewer background checks and fewer license renewals.

The Kansas Bureau of Investigation indicates that the passage of the bill would not have a fiscal effect on agency operations.

The House will have a hearing for the bill on Wednesday, March 15 at 3:30 p.m.