Iowa Moves to Regulate Hemp-Derived THC Products with Potency Limits

The Iowa legislature has taken a significant step toward regulating the state’s hemp industry by passing a bill that imposes potency caps and additional restrictions on consumable hemp products containing THC. House File 2605, approved by the Senate in a 31-18 vote on Tuesday, now heads to Republican Governor Kim Reynolds for final consideration.

If signed into law, the measure would limit the THC content in hemp-derived products to no more than 4 milligrams per serving and 10 milligrams per package. It also mandates warning labels, sets a minimum purchase age of 21, and introduces new regulations for manufacturers, sellers, and possessors of such products.

The bill’s sponsor, Republican Senator Dan Dawson, hailed the legislation as “desperately needed regulation” to maintain a clear distinction between over-the-counter hemp offerings and the state’s existing medicinal cannabidiol (CBD) program, which requires a doctor’s recommendation.

“The Iowa Hemp Act, or the program that we’re talking about here today, needs to be at a milligram usage less than our medical cannabidiol program, otherwise the lines are blurred,” Dawson argued, emphasizing the need for “guardrails” to protect consumers and direct those with diagnosed conditions to the medicinal CBD program.

However, critics like Democratic Representative John Forbes voiced concerns about potential “unintended consequences” for individuals using hemp products therapeutically or as an alternative to prescription medications. Forbes warned that the potency limits could make many existing CBD formulations unavailable in Iowa, forcing consumers to seek products online or out-of-state.

“This legislation will make it much more difficult for people in the state of Iowa,” Forbes cautioned, citing the potential impact on those managing chronic pain or recovering from opioid addiction through hemp-derived products.

Supporters of the bill contend that regulation is necessary not only for the industry’s integrity but also to safeguard recreational users from uncontrolled potency levels. Senator Tom Shipley, who assisted in drafting the original Iowa Hemp Act, acknowledged emerging “nefarious motives” and “loopholes” that necessitated the new legislation.

As the debate over responsible regulation versus consumer accessibility continues, all eyes are on Governor Reynolds, whose signature would enact the potency limits and additional hemp product controls statewide.


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