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Senator Introduced Bill That Would Allow Hemp Cultivation in Illinois

IL Hemp

Senator Toi Hutchinson has filed a bill to legalize industrial hemp in Illinois. The bill would permit cultivate industrial hemp for the purpose of manufacturing paper, textiles and a list of other products. If legislation passes, farmers would grow hemp for research purposes first.

Hemp does not make anyone “high,” according to Chicago Tonight. It is in the marijuana family, but does not contain enough THC to actually produce a “high”. In 2014, state universities and the Illinois Department of Agriculture were permitted to grow hemp solely for research purposes.

Bill Bodine of the Illinois Farm Bureau said, “From our perspective, it provides an additional crop opportunity for our farmers and a market for a new crop that they would have an opportunity to grow.”

Rebecca Osland of the Illinois Stewardship Alliance said, “It really just got lumped in with marijuana even though by definition hemp is [not] psychoactive.”

The passage of the bill would remove industrial hemp from Illinois’ Cannabis Control Act. Interest to grow hemp from farmers around the state is apparent.

Eric Pollitt of Global Hemp Inc. said, “I get a lot of farmers that call and say, ‘I’m really interested in doing this. When can I do this?’”

The current U.S. hemp industry imports about $300 million in hemp-based products annually.

Osland also said, “We just haven’t allowed our farmers to grow it. There could be a whole [new] set of industries that could grow up around this.”