The 2018 Farm Bill opened the door for commercial hemp production in the U.S. by legalizing it as an agricultural commodity and removing it from the list of federally controlled substances.

In May 2019, farmers were brought one step closer to being able to legally grow hemp in Iowa, as Governor Reynolds signed the bill into law. Before anyone puts seeds in the ground, though, the USDA needs to establish the guidelines that each state's hemp program must follow. Farmers cannot legally grow hemp in Iowa until the USDA approves the state’s proposed regulatory plan. Hemp production will likely not be legalized until the 2020 growing season at the earliest, depending on the timing of the review and approval process. 

Meanwhile, BrownWinick’s Hemp Practice Group attorneys are providing clients with guidance, solutions and advice to set them up for success so they are ready to do business once the State’s plan is approved and rolled out. Our team monitors legislative developments, regulations, and industry trends to guide clients through the complexities of operating a hemp-related business. We provide guidance and targeted solutions in matters including regulatory, compliance, corporate transactions, investments, legislative, intellectual property (trademarks, copyrights, patents) and dispute resolution.


  • Licensing
  • Regulatory compliance issues
  • Corporate formation and restructuring
  • Corporate, securities, and financing transactions, including M&A and joint venture structuring
  • Labor and employment compliance and litigation
  • Real estate transactions
  • Land use building entitlements
  • Government advocacy and legislative lobbying
  • Branding and intellectual property protection, including product label approvals and trademark protection
  • Commercial litigation and distributor/supplier/retailer dispute resolution
  • Healthcare licensing, discipline, and reimbursement issues
  • Legal guidance to start-up companies in virtually all phases of their lifecycles
  • Supplier and distributor business relationship counseling and transaction negotiation
  • Retailer purchasing compliance and on-premises promotions
  • Tax planning and strategy
  • Defense of enforcement, investigations, and administrative litigation

Possessing, using, distributing, and/or selling marijuana or marijuana-based products is illegal under federal law, regardless of any state law that may decriminalize such activity under certain circumstances. Although federal enforcement policy may at times defer to states’ laws and not enforce conflicting federal laws, interested businesses and individuals should be aware that compliance with state law in no way assures compliance with federal law, and there is a risk that conflicting federal laws may be enforced in the future. No legal advice we give is intended to provide any guidance or assistance in violating federal law.



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