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DES MOINES (AP) — The Iowa Senate has sent a bill legalizing the growing of industrial hemp to the House for consideration.

The Iowa Hemp Act passed the Senate Monday 49-1.

Sen. Kevin Kinney, a farmer from Oxford says he hopes to make hemp a third leading commodity in Iowa in addition to corn and soybeans.

The bill allows licensed growers to cultivate the crop on up to 40 acres.

Industrial hemp can be used in food, fiber, paper and other products and Kinney says it’s been estimated it could grow to be a $1.9 billion market by 2022.

The National Conference of State Legislatures says at least 38 states considered legislation last year after the federal government eased restrictions in the Farm Bill on commercial production.

Nebraska lawmakers gave a bill its first-round approval Monday but it must pass twice more before it goes to the governor.

In other action:

  • Senators voted 32-18 to approve a justice systems budget bill providing an $8.2 million increase for public safety, corrections, prosecutorial and other state services for a total outlay of $579 million for the fiscal year beginning July 1.

Included in Senate File 615 were proposals to add $3.4 million in areas that would include funding an additional 15 State Patrol troopers and 10 agents in the Division of Criminal Investigation.

The measure also includes a $2.5 million supplemental appropriation in the current fiscal year for indigent defense.

Senators voted 35-15 to approve a $184.2 million appropriation to fund Iowa’s court system next fiscal year with an overall $3.6 million increase. Senate File 616 would fund a 2 percent salary increase for judges and magistrates.

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Statehouse reporter for The Courier

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