DES MOINES, Iowa — Iowa farmers are one step closer to being able to grow hemp legally.
On Monday, Gov. Kim Reynolds signed a bill that approves growing industrial hemp in Iowa. But farmers can’t start growing it right away.
First, the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship has to develop a state plan and get it approved by the USDA. Officials believe it could be approved by the start of the 2020 growing season.
“Just like any new product or any niche market, we are really advising growers to have their eyes wide open when they’re getting into this to understand what that marketplace looks like. We believe we can grow it in the state of Iowa. We want to make sure that folks can get paid to grow it as well,” said Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig.
Naig also wanted to clarify what this bill means for marijuana in Iowa.
“What this bill doesn’t do is legalize marijuana. It also doesn’t legalize CBD. What it does do is authorizes the Department of Agriculture to implement an industrial hemp program. That’s hemp with a THC level of 0.3 percent or below. There are really specific controls around that,” said Naig.
Most hemp production had been outlawed by the federal government for nearly a century. That moratorium ended last year.