Hemp advocates hold fest for industrial crop in Iowa

Wild hemp is an annual plant that already grows in ditches in Iowa -- photo by Adam Burke
Wild hemp is an annual plant that already grows in Iowa — photo by Adam Burke

Iowa Industrial Hemp Fest

Simon Estes Amphitheater, Des Moines — Saturday, June 27 at 12 p.m.

The inaugural Iowa Hemp Fest sparks up tomorrow in Des Moines to promote agricultural freedom in Iowa. The free ($5 suggested donation) event is part of the Iowa Hemp Association’s (IHA) lobbying and education efforts to bring a cash crop to the state.

The IHA just got its non-profit status two months ago, and is already planning future fundraisers including one with a hemp guitar signed by country singer and cannabis advocate Willie Nelson.

Nicholas Dreeszen, a co-founders of the IHA, said one of the groups’ biggest tasks is educating people about the difference between industrial hemp, which has no psychoactive effects when ingested, and so-called wacky tobacky or “weed,” which will get you high as hell.

He pointed out that hemp seeds can be turned into butter, milk, protein powder, finishing oil and soap. The fibers from the plant can be made into cloth, paper and rope.

Dreeszen said his group will have a booth at the Johnson County Fair and other events through the year to educate farmers, landowners and legislators about growing and harvesting hemp.

The 2014 Farm Bill allowed hemp production in the U.S. and already about half of the country has legalized hemp farming, including all of Iowa’s neighboring states.

Jason Ray Brown, Jasmin and Soul Phlegm are the featured acts at the event on Saturday, June 26 starting at noon.

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