photo by: Contributed photos

Lawrence businesswoman Joy Neely, left, is distributing a full line of CBD products under the brand name Free State Oils.

TOPEKA – A local businesswoman is trying to branch out into something that is, in Kansas, a relatively new kind of wholesale trade market, but she says she’s having trouble with one thing: convincing potential customers that it’s legal.

Joy Neely, who is perhaps best known for being a realtor and owner of Happy Home Hunters, recently launched a new venture as a wholesale distributor of cannabidiol products, or CBD, a substance more commonly known as hemp oil.

It’s a product that many people argue has useful medical purposes, especially for people with seizure disorders, anxiety, arthritis and other kinds of chronic joint pain. But the legality of it in Kansas has been a matter of some debate and confusion for a number of years.

photo by: Contributed photo

Joy Neely

“I’ve got sales guys going in to different store owners, and they keep running into the same thing, ‘Is it legal?’ And so we’re having to explain the law to them,” Neely said in a phone interview. “Which is fine. What it’s about is education, even down to explaining what hemp is.”

In the 2014 Farm Bill, Congress redefined hemp, under federal law, as being distinct from its close relative, marijuana, and it authorized state departments of agriculture and universities to conduct research and pilot programs to study how to cultivate it and use it for commercial purposes.

Kansas, however, was slow to adopt such a plan. In fact, as recently as January, Republican Attorney General Derek Schmidt issued a formal opinion saying “it is unlawful (under state law) to possess or sell products or substances containing any amount of cannabidiol.”

He also said

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