Making it legal to raise industrial hemp has been a topic of discussion in Illinois for years. Wisconsin is the most recent state to allow farmers to grow it. Will Illinois be next?
Back in 2014, the federal farm bill authorized states to grow hemp for research purposes… and effective in 2015, Illinois allowed specific state universities to do so.
But it’s still not legal for farmers to grow… whether it’s for research or another cash crop… and it’s not for a lack of trying by the Illinois Farm Bureau says Bill Bodine.
“For farmers it’s an opportunity to possibly diversify into a new crop. It’s something different than maybe the traditional crops you see grown in Illinois. It would be an opportunity for them to diversify and possibly make some new income off a new crop.”
He says to expect another try in 2018.
“We’re likely to see legislation introduced that would legalize industrial hemp production in the state. That legislation is something the Illinois Farm Bureau will be supportive of.”
Hemp is related to cannabis, but contains low levels of THC, the mind-altering component in marijuana. It’s still on the Drug Enforcement Association’s controlled substance list, although it has been used for centuries to make products like rope, clothing and more.