Universities in Illinois may soon get the chance to research industrial hemp. HB5085 is weaving its way through the legislature.
The Illinois Farm Bureau has been pushing the idea. But hemp was banned in the 1970’s and labeled a controlled substance, as it is related to marijuana.
Supporters say hemp can be re-purposed for materials like clothing, rope and much more. David Leitch–a House Republican from Peoria–says there’s been enough communication about what hemp actually is to make lawmakers comfortable with the bill.
“Time has come and the question is whether Illinois is going to be timely to this or be last like usual,” Leitch said.
* From the bill’s synopsis…
Provides that an institution of higher education or the Department of Agriculture may grow or cultivate industrial hemp if (1) the industrial hemp is grown or cultivated for purposes of research conducted under an agricultural pilot program or other agricultural or academic research, (2) the pilot program studies the growth, cultivation, or marketing of industrial hemp, and (3) any site used for the growing or cultivating of industrial hemp is certified by, and registered with, the Department of Agriculture.
The bill is now on concurrence in the House. The bill passed the Senate unanimously, 51-0. Almost all of those not voting were Democrats.
I’m continually amazed at these cannabis-related roll calls. Check out this link for some Illinois hemp history. It’s quite long.
* The Question: Should the General Assembly just forget about these studies and legalize hemp? Take the poll and then explain your answer in comments, please.