The Iowa Legislature has passed a measure legalizing industrial hemp production in the state, KHQA reports. The legislation passed the House 95-3 on Tuesday and 49-1 on Thursday. It moves next to Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds who, according to Brownfield Ag News, is expected to sign the bill.
Under the law, farmers will be permitted to grow up to 40 acres of the crop which will be monitored by the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship.
State Rep. Jarad Klein, himself a farmer, called the bill’s success “a win” for customers, retailers, and farmers.
“Allow the building of the infrastructure of this market now, so that when it comes time for our farmers to harvest their crops, there will be a robust demand and an outlook for industrial hemp.” – Klein in an interview with KHQA
While farming won’t begin until next year, the bill immediately allows retailers in the state to begin selling hemp-based products, according to a Radio Iowa report. Republican Rep. Jeff Shipley, who voted for the measure, expressed some frustration about the “red tape” contained in the bi-partisan legislation.
“Technically we are growing government with licenses and fees and it’s hard for me to comprehend that because my understanding of hemp is basically it is an inert plant and it’s very hard for me to wrap my mind around why we need government holding people by the hand to make sure they don’t make any mistakes here,” he told Radio Iowa.
Once the bill is signed by Reynolds, only eight states will remain without legalized hemp production following the passage of last year’s federal farm bill which removed hemp from the Controlled Substances Act. Last week the U.S. Department of Agriculture released hemp seed import guidance to clarify how farmers could access seeds for the new crop.