Move over corn?

Hemp is on track for commercial production in 2020

by Travis Fischer

Iowa farmers may be testing out a new crop next year as restrictions against growing commercial hemp are lifted nationwide.

While useful for its grain, seed and fibers, hemp production in the United States has faced legal obstacles due to the plant’s other commonly known use as the drug, marijuana.

The distinction between “hemp” and “marijuana” is an arbitrary one. They are the same plant, Cannabis sativa L., with the only difference being the concentration of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) on a dry weight basis. THC is the chemical compound produced by Cannabis responsible for giving users the high feeling that marijuana is known for.

Legally, a cannabis plant with less than 0.3 percent THC is considered hemp. A cannabis plant with more than 0.3 percent THC is marijuana, which remains illegal.

Along with THC, the Cannabis plant is also used to produce Cannabidiol (CBD), another chemical compound found in the plant that has found use in treating pain and anxiety.

As attitudes about Cannabis have shifted across the country, state and federal regulators have opened the door to legalizing the production of hemp for various products. While likely

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