cannabis

Danny Danko / Flickr--CC

The case of a medical marijuana activist in Garden City who lost custody of her son after the boy spoke up at a school anti-drug event has stirred legalization advocates.

Shona Banda had a custody hearing Monday after police went to her home and seized suspected marijuana that she said she used to treat her Crohn’s disease. She was stripped of custody, at least temporarily, and may yet face charges.

Banda previously lived in Colorado, where marijuana is legal not only for medical use but for recreational use as well.

Garden City is only about an hour’s drive from the Colorado border but a world away in terms of state marijuana laws. In Kansas, possession of any amount of marijuana is a felony on the second offense.

Legislative efforts to change that have gained little traction in recent years, with broad-based medical marijuana legalization bills generally not even getting a hearing.

Edward the Bonobo / Flickr/CC

In 1942 the U.S. Department of Agriculture produced a film promoting the many uses of hemp and touted its production as part of a patriotic mission to win the war effort. But, shortly after World War II domestic production of any form of cannabis, hemp or otherwise, became prohibited. But, the legacy of this once cash crop lingers and you don't need to look far off the roads of Kansas and Missouri to find wild varieties of "ditch weed" growing.

Luke Runyon / Harvest Public Media

The farm bill passed earlier this year is big news for advocates of hemp. The legislation differentiates industrial hemp from its cousin, marijuana, and paves the way for research across the country on the plant.

Luke Runyon / Harvest Public Media

The U.S. market for foods and beauty products that contain hemp is growing, but American manufacturers that use hemp have their hands tied. The crop is still illegal to cultivate, according to federal laws, which means the current American hemp industry, estimated at $500 million per year, runs on foreign hemp.