WASHINGTON — Supporters of industrial hemp are optimistic the crop has a future in a state known for sweeping fields of corn and soybeans.

Proponents of reintroducing hemp in Iowa — tens of thousands of acres dotted the landscape during World War II — have worked to build their case by distancing themselves from the plant’s infamous relative, marijuana.

They also tout the benefits of industrial hemp on the environment, local businesses that make products with the plant's fibers or seeds, and farmers who would have another crop to add to their rotation.

“Our legislators really need to get on board and quit acting like it’s a drug, like people are going to smoke it and get high,” said Michelle Van Winkle, a board member at the Iowa Hemp Association.

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Christopher Doering ~ DesMoinesRegister.com ~

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