Iowa Industrial Hemp Bill Awaits Governor’s Signature

Iowa hemp bill
Image: TinaKru

Another hemp bill is on its way to a U.S. Governor, this time in Iowa – and it looks to be in pretty good shape to make it across the line.

Iowa lawmakers gave the green light to Senate File 599 last week, which is by now probably on Governor Kim Reynolds’ desk for her to make her mark (or not).

Senate File 599 creates the Iowa Hemp Act, authorising production and marketing of industrial hemp in the state in compliance with federal law.

It will be administered by the Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship (DALS), whose responsibilities will include submitting a State plan to the USDA. SF599 also creates the Hemp Fund in the State Treasury, which will be managed by DALS. 

The fees involved for growing hemp will be as follows:

  • 5 acres or less – $500 + $5 per acre
  • More than 5 but less than 10 acres  – $750 + $5 per acre
  • More than 10 acres – $1,000 + $5 per acre.

There will also be an annual inspection fee not exceeding $1,000.

According to the Bill, though the maximum amount of land to be permitted under cultivation per licensee will be quite limited. It states:

“A person may hold any number of licenses at the same time. However, the person shall not hold a legal or equitable interest in a licensed crop site, if the total number of acres of all licensed crop sites in which the person holds all such  interests equals more than forty acres.”

In harmony with Federal laws, hemp will be considered cannabis sativa L. with a maximum delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol concentration that does not exceed  three-tenths of one percent on a dry weight basis.

Last year another industrial hemp bill made good headway in Iowa – Senate File 2398. It passed the Senate in April 49-0, but was killed in the House.

It’s not clear yet whether Governor Reynolds will sign SF599 into law, but the general vibe appears to be that she will.

The flurry of hemp bills making rapid progress in the USA in recent times is attributable to the 2018 Farm Bill, which gives industrial hemp among other things agricultural commodity status. Where some states were very hesitant to make a move before, fear-of-missing-out has now well and truly kicked into gear in quite a few of the remaining hemp holdout states.