The Iowa Legislature adjourned for the year at about 10:30 last night, but not before a day-long fight over pot. The Iowa Senate voted to spend 20-thousand dollars on a study of industrial hemp. Senate President Mary Kramer put the proposal in a budget bill in tribute to out-going Senator Lyle Zieman, a republican farmer from Postville, who’s a long-time advocate of hemp as a cash crop. He says hemp fits in good with the crop rotation and would be a gold alternative to corn and beans. Zieman says hemp will be planted in test plots in North Dakota and Minnesota, and the fiber has thousands of uses. He says it can be used in food, clothing and lumber. He says one acre of hemp can produce as much lumber as four acres of trees. Zieman says it’s easy to tell marijuana and hemp apart. But many members in the House believe hemp is just like marijuana and they snuffed out the project. That’s Representative Chuck Larson of Cedar Rapids, who says Zieman is an unwitting pawn of those who want to legalize marijuana. Larson says industrialized hemp has been studied by many states and he says there isn’t any market for it. He says the people who promote the legalization of drugs try to find a conservative republican farmer to advocate hemp as a new crop, while on the west coast they advocate the medicinal use of marijuana. Iowa State University officials didn’t want to conduct the study, either, citing the excessive cost of building security fences around test plots.
You are here: / / Legislature adjourns after debate over pot