77th General Assembly: HF 402 & SF 340
78th General Assembly:
HF 320 & SF 2413
79th General Assembly:
SF 61 & HF 202
80th General Assembly:
81st General Assembly
Assembly: HF 402 & SF 340
In 1997, the 60th anniversary
of the first federal law affecting hemp farming, the
Marijuana Tax Act, Representatives Minnette Doderer
(D-Iowa City), Effie Lee Boggess (R-Villisca), Cecil
Dolecheck (R-Mount Ayr) and Cecelia Burnett (D-Ames)
402, a bill to authorize Iowa State University to
research industrial hemp farming.
Speaking with the Iowa State Daily
("Hemp fires set to burn at conference here this
weekend"), Burnett said the bill had bipartisan
support because research could provide an alternative
crop for the poorer soils of southern Iowa. "This
is not marijuana," Burnett told the paper. "Hemp
has a long history of use in America. The Declaration
of Independence was written on hemp paper."
The Waterloo/Cedar Falls Courier
("Hemp hype or cash crop") quoted Doderer
as saying "It's the most versatile crop I know
of. It's a great cash crop."
The Des Moines Register ("House
panel approves hemp research") quoted Rep. Russell
Teig (R-Jewell) as saying, "If they [researchers
at Iowa State University] want to do some research for
us, we ought to give them our whole support."
The Des Moines Register ("Hemp
crop proposals must shed their image problem")
quoted Denny Presnall, a lobbyist for the Iowa Farm
Bureau, saying "We would be foolish to at least
not look at something like it [industrial hemp farming]."
The bill was supported by the Iowa
Farm Bureau Federation, which had adopted a pro-hemp
resolution at their most recent state convention.
When the House Agriculture Committee
approved HF 402 by an 18-3 vote, the Des Moines
Register ("A promising new crop") applauded,
calling hemp "a proven crop with a proven market
and a proven propensity to thrive in the rich Iowa soil."
A companion bill, SF
340, introduced by the Senate Agriculture Committee,
explained that "Industrial hemp historically has
contributed to the economic welfare of this country,
and is a renewable resource manufactured for textiles,
pulp, paper, oil and other products. The purpose of
this act is to promote the economy of this state by
providing for research necessary to develop industrial
hemp as a viable crop." It further stated that
"research shall ... be determined by experimental
trials when appropriate."
The Senate Agriculture Committee voted
(see Senate Journal 511) to recommend passage of SF
340 with a final vote of 13 to 1.
Assembly: HF 320 & SF 2413
In 1999, Representative Burnett introduced
320, another bill for research on the production
and marketing of industrial hemp.
In 2000, Senator Lyle Zieman, along
with 11 other senators, introduced a companion bill,
SF 2260, that passed the Senate Agriculture Committee
Assembly: SF 61 & HF 202
The Senate Agriculture Committee passed
another hemp bill, SF
61, in 2001. The final vote was 12 to 1. A companion
202, was introduced in the House by 10 cosponsors.
When SF 61 passed the committee, the Iowa State
Daily said the decision was "full of wisdom
and could help Iowa farmers produce a crop the rest
of the world has been happy to utilize fully for decades."
The Iowa State Daily also
ran a news article on the vote ("Iowa Legislators
consider legalizing hemp") outlining the case for
hemp according to Sen. Mark Zieman (R-Postville), Lyle
Zieman’s son who won his father’s senate
seat. He was quoted as saying "It [industrial hemp]
can be used for building materials, twine, textiles
"The benefit that I'm looking
at in it [hemp] is an alternative cash crop that we,
as Iowa farmers, may be able to develop in the future," said Zieman, one of the bill's sponsors. "We just
want to take a look at it and see if it's something
we would want to pursue."
Zieman, a full-time farmer in Northeast
Iowa, said hemp is used in more than 25,000
products being shipped to the United States from
other countries, such as Canada. He said hemp is used
in the cosmetic and automobile industries, and may be
developed as a fuel source. "That might be the
big unknown, the one we need to take a look at,"
* * *
Zieman said comparing hemp and marijuana
is like "comparing sweet corn and popcorn."
The level of hallucinogenic substance,
THC, is between 7 percent and 20 percent in marijuana,
Zieman said. Hemp, he said, has less than 1 percent
"There's really no risk, although
there is a perceived risk," he said. "As far
as a hallucination, it just isn't going to happen. But,
we're having some problems convincing people."
* * *
Zieman said growing hemp is legal in
several surrounding states that have passed bills to
provide funding for research on the plant. Hawaii has
had a federal license to maintain test plots for two
years, he said.
"I think, if we did this now,
we would be on the cutting edge," Zieman said.
He also said the legalization would
be state-regulated, and permits would be limited for
the first few years.
"This isn't going to be a broad
spectrum right off the bat," he said. "We're
not even to the crawling stage yet ... but I think we
need to give ourselves the opportunity to look at it."
Zieman inherited the hemp project from
his father, former Sen. Lyle Zieman (R-Postville) who
worked on legalizing the plant during his four-year
tenure in the senate. If the bill is approved by the
state legislature and a federal permit is obtained,
it would be a first for the Midwest, he said.
Assembly: SF 191
Senator Zieman introduced another
hemp bill in 2003, SF
191 (Iowa Hemp Bill), an act providing for the production
and marketing of industrial hemp. This bill also "survived
the funnel," passing the Senate Agriculture Committee.
The vote was 14 ayes, 1 absent or not voting.
So far, no industrial hemp bill has
been introduced in the 81st General Assembly. Still,
24 senators and representatives who have sponsored or voted for industrial hemp legislation
in the past remain in the General Assembly (unless they've
moved into the governor's mansion).