Last year, the legislature began the process of allowing hemp to be grown and sold in Iowa. Countless hours have been spent on legislation and rules to ensure Iowa is following federal law. With proper licensing, some Iowa farmers will be able to grow and harvest hemp and some hemp products will be allowed to be sold in the state. The House Public Safety Committee will be evaluating issues that may arise as the program develops.
As with any new programs, there are issues that still need to be resolved. One of those is the problem with smokable hemp. HSB 572 was drafted by the Public Safety Committee in an effort to ban smokable hemp and ensure law enforcement can differentiate between legal hemp products and illegal marijuana products.
In most cases, hemp is not actually smoked, but hemp and marijuana can’t be differentiated by sight, smell, or even roadside tests. Special equipment is used to evaluate if the product has less than 0.3% THC, which determines if it is hemp or marijuana. If smokable hemp is not prohibited, there will be trouble prosecuting illegal marijuana possession and large backlogs in the DCI crime lab as experts work to determine THC content.
The bill has advanced out of subcommittee and Representatives are carefully evaluating any unforeseen consequences with this proposal. During the next several weeks, House Republicans will meet with the Office of Drug Control Policy, Department of Public Safety, IDALS and others who are involved with drug and hemp laws.