American Hemp Ventures serviced by Hemp Consultants will provide information about the hemp industry at 6 p.m., Monday, Aug. 26 at the American Legion Country Club in Shenandoah.

Cost includes a meal and the presentation. Please contact the Shenandoah Chamber and Industry at 619 W. Sheridan Ave. or by phone at (712) 246-3455 by Friday, Aug. 23 for reservations.

The 2018 Farm Bill opened the door for commercial hemp production in the U.S. by legalizing it as an agricultural commodity and removing it from the list of federally controlled substances. It also gave states and the federal government shared regulatory authority over hemp production. 

Iowa Senate File 599, known as the hemp bill, passed through the Iowa Senate and Iowa House of Representatives during the 2019 Legislative Session. Gov. Reynolds signed the bill into law on May 13.

The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship will develop a state plan to license and regulate the production of hemp and submit it to the USDA for approval. Farmers cannot legally grow hemp in Iowa until the USDA approves the state’s proposed regulatory plan. Hemp production will likely not be legalized until the 2020 growing season at the earliest, depending on the timing of the review and approval process. 

Growers are advised to do their research and confirm there is a viable, profitable market for commercial hemp production before they make an investment in seed and equipment. 

Once the USDA approves the state’s proposed regulatory plan, an individual farmer can legally grow up to 40 acres of hemp. 

This law legalizes the production, processing and marketing of hemp in Iowa. It does not legalize the recreational use of marijuana.  

Hemp plants (Cannabis spp.) have THC levels of 0.3 percent or less. Plants with THC levels above 0.3 percent are still considered controlled substances in the state of Iowa and must be destroyed.

Hemp produces fibers which can be used to make products like textiles, oils, paper and rope. 

The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship will regulate the production of hemp. 

Farmers must have a license from the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship to grow hemp.

Q.  What is hemp?

A.  “Hemp” means the plant Cannabis sativa L. and any part of that plant, including the seeds and all derivatives, extracts, cannabinoids, isomers, acids, salts, and salts of isomers, whether growing or not, with a delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) concentration of not more than 0.3% on a dry weight basis.

Hemp and marijuana are the same plant, Cannabis sativa L., and can only be differentiated with a laboratory test. Hemp has a THC of 0.3%, or less, on a dry weight basis, and marijuana has a THC content that is above 0.3% on a dry weight basis. The Iowa hemp legislation does not legalize marijuana.

Q.  Does the recent passage of hemp legislation make it legal to grow hemp in Iowa in 2019?

A.  No, hemp cannot be legally grown in Iowa in 2019. Iowa’s legislation adopts the 2018 Farm hemp provisions, which the USDA will implement after the federal rulemaking process is complete. USDA estimates those rules may be in place by the end of 2019. Then, the Iowa Department of Agriculture & Land Stewardship (IDALS) must submit a state plan to USDA. USDA has 60 days to accept or reject Iowa’s plan. Once a state plan is approved, growers will be required to obtain a license from IDALS in order to grow hemp.

Q.  How are other states legally growing hemp now?

A.  Many states have adopted the 2014 Farm Bill hemp provisions, though Iowa has not. Hemp is being grown in those states under the 2014 Farm Bill provisions until the 2018 Farm Bill is fully implemented. 

Q. Does the Iowa hemp legislation change the Iowa Medical Cannabidiol Program?

A.  No, the Iowa Medical Cannabidiol Program, operated by the Iowa Department of Public Health, is not affected by the passage of the Iowa hemp legislation. For more information on medical cannabidiol, see http://idph.iowa.gov/cbd

Q.  What are the hemp license application requirements? 

A.  (1) All applicants will need to submit official fingerprints and be subject to a FBI national criminal history record check (e.g. background check). A person cannot obtain an Iowa hemp license if they have any controlled substance felony convictions for producing, possessing, using, harvesting, handling, manufacturing, marketing, transporting, delivering, or distributing a controlled substance, for a ten-year period following the date of conviction.  

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