The momentum for legalizing industrial hemp in America is building. Iowa supporters of the once-prevalent crop, though, have moved on from being eager about its possibilities to anxious to get growing.
Hemp got lumped in with its infamous sibling cannabis crop, marijuana, when it was made illegal to grow in the U.S. without a permit in 1970. But hemp doesn’t get you stoned, since it contains negligible amounts of tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC.
In the past five years, the plant has been making a quiet comeback in America. At least 35 states nationwide now allow some form of industrial hemp cultivation, and U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., wants hemp federally descheduled — meaning states could carry out changes without interference — as part of the latest Farm Bill. But that massive, catch-all legislation is caught up in bureaucratic snags.
A research and exploration bill for hemp passed the Iowa Senate unanimously this past legislative session, too, but talk in the House quieted after it was OK’d by a subcommittee.
Some Iowa farmers such as 34-year-old Ethan Vorhes, who helps oversee land a few miles south of Charles City, are tired of waiting. [Read more at Des Moines Register]