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Richard Smith

Iowa Senate Passes Hemp Legalization

The Iowa Senate has overwhelmingly approved legislation legalizing industrial hemp production; the bill now moves to the House.

Full story after the jump.

Iowa’s Senate has advanced legislation to legalize industrial hemp production in the state, according to a report from the Neighbor. The measure, which still needs approval in the House, passed the chamber 49-1.

Under the law, the industry would be regulated by the state Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, which would collect fees, appropriations, and other hemp-generated revenues that would be used for regulations and oversight. The first crops wouldn’t be planted until 2020 and would initially limit farmers to just 40 acres of hemp cultivation.

For the first two years, hemp farmers would pay $500 plus $5-per-acre in licensing fees for plots less than 5 acres; $750 plus $5-per-acre for plots between five and 10 acres; and $1,000 plus $5-per-acre for sites more than 10 acres, according to the bill text.

Republican state Sen. Tom Shipley told the Neighbor that the bill approved by the Senate includes amendments to win the approval of the House. Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds would also have to sign the measure.

“The Department of Ag and the Department of Public Safety are working hand in hand to make hemp Iowa’s third commodity a safe reality,”. “I have been contacted by future hemp farmers who are ready to start producing and see the market for hemp products.” –  State Sen. Kevin Kinney, a Democrat, to the Neighbor

Iowa, one of just seven states without state-approved hemp cultivation, follows several states – including Texas, Maine, Florida, Idaho, Oklahoma, and Nebraska – in making reforms in the wake of last year’s federal hemp changes included the Farm Bill.

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