House bill would allow industrial hemp production

Industrial HempBy Bob Eschliman


A bill offered this week by state Rep. John Forbes (D-Urbandale), a member of the Cannabidiol Implementation Interim Study Committee, would allow the production of industrial hemp with less than 0.3 percent tetrahydrocannabinol, the psychoactive element of marijuana.

House File 470 requires the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, in cooperation with the Iowa Department of Public Safety, Regents institutions, and community colleges, to administer a new chapter of Iowa Code that allows for industrial hemp production. IDALS would be responsible for licensing industrial hemp producers.

Under the bill, IDALS would also be responsible for working with other government agencies, particularly drug-enforcement agencies, to “provide for the production, harvesting, marketing, and distribution of industrial hemp. The proposed legislation does not exceed the provisions of federal law.

Under HF 470, licensees would be required to complete an agricultural pilot program, certified by a Regents institution or community college that offers the program. They then must produce industrial hemp on a demonstration plot for three years.

The bill would require licensees to maintain records, restricts the use of seed by licensees, provides for inspections of land and seed, and provides for the suspension or revocation of a license. Under the proposed legislation, licensees who violate its provisions would be subject to a civil penalty of up to $50,000.

Co-sponsors of the bill are state Reps. Bobby Kaufmann (R-Wilton), Bruce Bearinger (D-Oelwein), Helen Miller (D-Fort Dodge), Liz Bennett (D-Cedar Rapids), and Kirsten Running-Marquardt (D-Cedar Rapids). Lobbyist declarations on the bill include Iowans for Medical Marijuana, which is in support of it.