Lawmakers pass legislation to legalize industrial hemp

In an initiative to create more profitable opportunities for Illinois farmers, the Senate and House unanimously passed a proposal to legalize the growth, cultivation and processing of industrial hemp.

With the wide range of uses for hemp, state legislators believe the plant could prove to be a new agricultural commodity in Illinois. Hemp as a raw material can be used to produce paper and fibers, commercial and industrial products, and construction and insulation materials, and cosmetics. Hemp seed and oil can also be used as a food ingredient.

Under Illinois law, the growth of industrial hemp has not been permitted, as “hemp” is currently listed under the definition of “cannabis.” Senate Bill 2298 exempts hemp from that definition to legalize the plant and assigns the Department of Agriculture to create the rules necessary to issue licenses for the growing of industrial hemp.

If signed by the Governor, Illinois will join the rankings of 16 states currently growing industrial hemp.

Chapin Rose

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