Hutchinson’s bill OKs growing industrial hemp on Illinois farms

Legislation allowing the cultivation of industrial hemp in Illinois was signed into law Aug 26. 
 
Senate Bill 2298, co-sponsored by Sen. Toi Hutchinson, D-Chicago Heights, creates the Industrial Hemp Act and allows farmers to apply to the Illinois Department of Agriculture for a license to cultivate and process industrial hemp.
 
“Illinois has some of the best farmland in the Midwest, with fertile agricultural land across all regions of our state,” Hutchinson said. “This new law ensures our farmers have the ability to produce a product that is already available in our stores.”
 
In 2014, the federal farm bill for the first time allowed universities and state departments of agriculture to develop pilot programs to study the cultivation and marketing of industrial hemp. Illinois passed legislation in 2015 allowing state universities with four-year agriculture degrees to research hemp.
 
Industrial hemp has a myriad of uses, including paper, plastics, textiles and even fuel. 

Industrial hemp includes cannabis plants and plant parts. Industrial hemp and marijuana are two different strains of the Cannabis Sativa L. plant. Industrial hemp seeds have low, government-regulated levels of delta-9 Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive agent found in cannabis plants.

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