Group and lawmaker push to leglaize cannabis farming in Missouri

Lawmaker thinks hemp could revitalize Mo. farming

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Several groups, including a state senator, are pushing to legalize the farming of a crop often categorized with marijuana. 

Buried within the rows of t-shirts at the It’s a Beautiful Day shop on Broadway Blvd., is clothing of another thread.

"We also have a lot of hats, and accessories, belts, patches wallets, purses, backpacks, pants, shirts, t-shirts,” business owner Fran Stanton said.

The shop sells a number of products made of hemp.

Hemp is illegal to grow in the U.S. There was a big push from the Department of Agriculture to grow hemp in the U.S. during World War Two.

Hemp was vital for making ropes, canvas and military clothing, but it became categorized with marijuana and was banned.

"It's very common for people to confuse the two issues,” Amber Langston, the executive director for the Show-Me Cannabis Foundation, said.

Langston didn’t know about hemp until she studied agriculture.  

“It is genetically pretty much the same plant,” Langston said, “It just doesn’t have the THC, which is the component that gets you high in the medical marijuana."

She’s now part of a group that’s pushing to bring back the crop.

Missouri state senator Jason Holsman, who represents parts of Jackson County, has pushed to pass a bill to legalize hemp farming, but the bill has never made it to the floor.

Now that marijuana is legal in two states, Langston thinks it is Missouri’s turn.  

“There’s so many different reasons that we would want to have this plant,” she said. “And as were seeing these things change across the country, Missouri’s going to get left behind if we don’t take a stand."

Legalizing hemp won’t do much for Fran Stanton’s business, but she’s not shy to show how much she cares for the plant. 

“I’m more excited about it as a human than as a business owner,” Stanton said.

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