The Iowa Department of Agriculture & Land Stewardship is now accepting industrial hemp production license applications until May 15. The U.S. Department of Agriculture has accepted the Iowa Hemp State Plan which will be published in the April 8 Iowa Administrative Bulletin.

The USDA's approval has cleared the way for each individual Iowa farmer to grow up to 40 acres of hemp. The law legalizes the production, processing and marketing of many, but not all, hemp products in Iowa. It does not legalize the recreational use of marijuana nor the over-the-counter sale of CBD. The Federal Drug Administration (FDA) is still working to determine if CBD is safe for human consumption. Legal industrial hemp plants (Cannabis spp.) can have delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) levels of 0.3 percent or less. Plants with THC levels above 0.3 percent are considered controlled substances in the state of Iowa and must be destroyed.

The first step in the Iowa license application process - the submission of fingerprints for background record checks - may take several weeks, according to IDALS officials. A license cannot be issued until all applicants associated with the hemp license pass the background check. All individuals associated with the hemp license must submit their fingerprints and be listed on the hemp license application.

Individuals "associated" with a hemp license include:

  • An individual with five percent, or more, legal or equitable interest in the hemp crop.
  • An individual applying as a member of a business entity, if that individual’s legal or equitable interest in the business entity is five percent or more.
  • Key participants in a corporate entity at the executive level, including chief executive officer, chief operating officer and chief financial officer.
  • If an applicant is acting on behalf of an institution governed by the state board of regents, as defined in Iowa Code section 262.7, or a community college as defined in Iowa Code 260C.2, “applicant” means the individual, or individuals, appointed by the president or chancellor of the institution to obtain hemp permits from the department. Other institutions of higher learning may also apply by designating an appropriate authorized representative.
  • An individual acting as the “authorized representative” for the hemp license. The authorized representative is designated by the applicant(s) to act on behalf of and represent the applicant(s) in communicating with the Department for the purposes of applying for a license, submitting reports, receiving documents and information from the Department, and acting as the sole primary contact pertaining to the license. An applicant may only have one authorized representative. An authorized representative shall not be a business entity.

A complete license application form must include: 

  • Full name, title, residential address, phone number and email of the applicant’s authorized representative.
  • Full name, residential address, phone number and email of the applicant(s). Applicants who are key participants in a business entity shall also submit their title within the entity.
  • Principal business name and address.
  • Legal description of the parcel where hemp will be grown.
  • The geospatial location of the crop site.
  • A map of the crop site including lot boundaries and names of varieties/cultivars/strains.
  • Name of the hemp variety/varieties to be planted.
  • How the licensee intends to destroy the crop if the THC concentration is more than the acceptable hemp THC concentration (note, destruction must be approved by the Department prior to implementation).

Other Hemp Resources:

More information and "frequently asked questions" can be found at:, and at this link. All questions about applying for a hemp license or seed permit should be directed to or (515) 725-1470.