Iowa hemp production plan approved by USDA

(This story was updated with new information from the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship.)

Farmers in Iowa cheered Friday when the state agriculture department announced its hemp production plan has been approved by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and license applications will be accepted starting April 1.

Iowa is one of 12 states and 14 American Indian tribes that have received USDA approval for their hemp production plans under the interim final rules for domestic hemp production, which were implemented in October.

“We know farmers are eager for new opportunities, and this milestone means they are one step closer to being able to grow hemp during the 2020 growing season,” Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig said in a statement.

The state will hold a public hearing to gather public comments on Iowa’s hemp production plan via teleconference on April 3.

Until an official notice is published in the Iowa Administrative Bulletin, scheduled for April 8, it is still illegal to grow, possess, buy or sell hemp in Iowa, according to a statement from the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship.

The Iowa Hemp Act was signed into law in May and allows for licensed growers to cultivate the crop on up to 40 acres.

Under Iowa’s rules, the go-ahead to produce hemp does not impact the state’s stance on legalizing CBD processing, extraction or consumption, according to Robin Pruisner, hemp administrator for the state’s Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship.

“Once the official notice is published in the Iowa Administrative Bulletin, non-THC hemp derivatives such as cannabidiol are no longer considered a Schedule 1 Controlled Substance,” Pruisner wrote in an email to Hemp Industry Daily.

“However, it does not legalize cannabidiol for consumption in Iowa, nor the extraction/processing of hemp derivatives.”

Currently, CBD can be sold legally only in a small number of approved pharmacies in the state.

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