Iowa officials taking comments on new hemp growing rules


DES MOINES, IOWA (AP) — Iowa agriculture officials announced Thursday they are taking comments on proposed new rules that will regulate hemp production in the state.

Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig said comments on the proposed administrative rules that will regulate the planting, growing and harvesting of commercial hemp will be accepted until 4:30 p.m. Jan. 22.

The state submitted its proposed hemp production program to the U.S. Department of Agriculture for approval on Dec. 11. The USDA has 60 days to review and provide feedback.

Once the USDA approves the state hemp plan and the online licensing system is operational, Iowa agriculture officials will start accepting hemp grower license applications.

Licensed farmers will be able to grow up to 40 acres (16.2 hectares) of hemp per season.

The proposed rules include provisions for maintaining information on the land where hemp is produced, testing the levels of THC — the chemical in marijuana that makes users feel high — and disposing of plants not meeting requirements. The rules also establish licensing requirements and ensure compliance with a law passed in May.