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Question of the day

Tuesday, May 27, 2014


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.


- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Mason born - Tuesday, May 27, 14 @ 1:32 pm:

    The Hemp in rope, clothes etc. has such low THC content you might as well smoke your grass clippings.

    It really isn’t rocket science.

  2. - connor - Tuesday, May 27, 14 @ 1:34 pm:

    Why not legalize it? I’ve yet to hear an effective argument against it. This is a good first step, though, as the US FARM Bill that recently passed did legalize the university study of marijuana.

  3. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, May 27, 14 @ 1:37 pm:

    Hemp for victory!

    Obviously, I voted “Yes.” lol

    This goofy fear about a highly useful crop is antiquated and without substance.

  4. - Just Observing - Tuesday, May 27, 14 @ 1:40 pm:

    Before I even got to the question… I had the same thought… why all these silly, wasteful studies… the science is already firmly established… hemp cannot be used as a drug.

  5. - A guy... - Tuesday, May 27, 14 @ 1:44 pm:

    Using these standards, natural gas and gasoline would have a hard time getting through the GA on account of their “other” uses. Have an intellectual debate and pass it. The GA could choose to be a teaching and active body rather than a cowered and reactive body.

  6. - TooManyJens - Tuesday, May 27, 14 @ 1:45 pm:

    Yes. More evidence-based public policy, please.

  7. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, May 27, 14 @ 1:46 pm:

    Ok, I voted “Yes”, but I am very concerned that this is going to lead to “… people playing that Rock and Roll real loud, and kids not listening to their parents, and a lack of respect for anyone of authority for that matter, and …”

    It’s Hemp. Civilizations were built on hemp products, not destroyed by hemp residuals.

  8. - Hon. John Fritchey - Tuesday, May 27, 14 @ 1:49 pm:

    I was jusssst talking about this issue today when I gave a talk on the legalization issue. Somewhere around 2000, Rep. Judy Erwin and one of the Republican reps had this very bill. And after a lengthy debate, it failed in large part because so many legislators thought that a vote to STUDY the uses of INDUSTRIAL HEMP would be seen as being soft on crime and drugs.

    It may be slow going but we’re making progress…

  9. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, May 27, 14 @ 1:54 pm:

    ==It may be slow going but we’re making progress… ===

    I don’t disagree, but if you can find 51 votes for a study, why not try to find 30 for legalization? Push the envelope a bit.

  10. - OneMan - Tuesday, May 27, 14 @ 1:55 pm:

    Way back when I was in college at NIU the “Hemp Tour” came to town and they had a thing in a commons area, walking by I cracked a joke I made up on the spot that still makes me proud…

    Did you hear about the hemp powered car…

    It only goes 10 miles an hour but after 20 minutes you just don’t care…

  11. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, May 27, 14 @ 1:56 pm:

    I am changing my vote to “No” cuz, I was, like, sittin’ on my rug watching my lava lamp and I know, just know, like about like 3 or 9 people…(whisper) are watching me. Right. Now.

    So, I am like…changing… my vote to “no way” while I am sittin’ here, with my lava lamp, waiting for then to like…go and stuff.

  12. - wordslinger - Tuesday, May 27, 14 @ 1:58 pm:

    Yes, hemp is a casualty of reefer madness. Nobody smokes that ditchweed.

  13. - MrJM (@MisterJayEm) - Tuesday, May 27, 14 @ 2:04 pm:

    This goofy fear about a highly useful crop is antiquated and without substance.

    Uhhh… Rich said “highly”… Huh huh huh.

    – MrJM

  14. - DuPont - Tuesday, May 27, 14 @ 2:07 pm:

    Hemp was made illegal by the US in 1937. Dupont lobbied congress and with the help of newspapers the prohibition passed. - so “if hemp had not been made illegal, 80 percent of DuPont’s business would never have materialized. Hemp can produce 200 gal of oil, 20 tons fiber and 2 ton protein per acre. It produces better paper than wood and it can save the Forrest with renewable production. A Marijuana allotment was issued to Southern IL farmers during WWII to produce Hemp for the war effort. Malaysian Hemp was almost impossible to get so the US had to produce its own. Farmers sometime planted Hemp along railroad right of ways in WWII. Hemp with Little or no THC is a commodity we need in the US. Henry Ford made a car that ran off hemp oil. DuPont made Billions and the oil company’s are making Billions so we may never see it grown. It might cut into the Fracking and BIG Oil if we legalized hemp. Renewable product that does not need chemicals to kill the weeds during productions. Its almost a miracle product but will cut into the profits of several Big Corperations

  15. - dupage dan - Tuesday, May 27, 14 @ 2:08 pm:

    While there are many legitimate uses for hemp, I would not include rope, unless it is of a decorative variety. Hemp was used because of the characteristics of the fiber. Modern fibers are far and away more superior for rope when issues of strength, durability and ability to withstand rot are considered.

    Lots of other known uses. Getting high from it ain’t one of them. Legalize it.

  16. - dupage dan - Tuesday, May 27, 14 @ 2:16 pm:

    === Its almost a miracle product ===

    Eliminate Fracking and BIG Oil.

    Gotta love that over the top stuff.

    “With the oil of Aphrodite, and the dust of the Grand Wazoo, he said “You might not believe this, little fella, but it’ll cure your asthma too”

    Yep, better than Dr McGillicuddy’s Miracle Nostrum. You can power your car and cure cancer.

    The energy involved in processing hemp, or other similar fibers, into fuel basically matches the energy output. Zero sum gain. There are better materials that are easier to work with and will result in a better yield. But, the hope of pot still remains - the panacea.

  17. - jake - Tuesday, May 27, 14 @ 2:16 pm:

    I voted yes, but…. There is plenty enough evidence to make it reasonable to legalize hemp. But the facts have not been widely enough disseminated in the public to go from a majority to a consensus. Sometimes it is best to get more evidence to make the arguments so compelling that there is no significant resistance. Also the research may turn up new socially and economically beneficial ways to use hemp.

  18. - SAP - Tuesday, May 27, 14 @ 2:18 pm:

    Third crop to put into rotation along with corn and soybeans would substantially cut need for pesticides and fertilizers. But just as civil unions gave way to marriage equality, passing the study bill would at least move the debate forward a little bit.

  19. - Jeff Trigg - Tuesday, May 27, 14 @ 2:23 pm:

    It was 2001 when George Ryan vetoed HB3377 that allowed some colleges to study industrial hemp. Its sad it took this long before they tried to pass it again. Please don’t tell me Quinn is going to veto this.

    Yes, its a no-brainer it should be legalized, especially at the federal level. There is no logical reason to explain why industrial hemp is a Schedule 1 drug.

  20. - Nearly Normal - Tuesday, May 27, 14 @ 2:34 pm:

    We still have some industrial hemp growing wild in McLean County. There was quite a bit of it grown during WWII. I had a custodian at the school I taught at show me his certificate for the family farm to grow hemp for the war effort.

    Some of my students also found it growing in fence rows. Back in the ’70s, my father-in-law found that someone had stalks of it bound together and hung to dry in an unused corn crib on his mother-in-law’s farm. No one lived there for years but there were still outbuildings.

    He didn’t know what it was at first, but the shape of the leaves made the ID fast.

    When he asked his son (a U of I ag student at the time) about it he denied it was his or his cousin’s. Surprise, it was all gone in a couple of days after being found!

    So, I guess we thwarted that U of I experiment!

  21. - Huh? - Tuesday, May 27, 14 @ 2:49 pm:

    There are/have been enough studies by other states, that we don’t need to conduct any more.

    Kentucky just got it’s shipment of hemp seeds after filing suit against the USDA.

  22. - D.P.Gumby - Tuesday, May 27, 14 @ 3:10 pm:

    Forget study, just legalize for God’s sake. Hemp has no drug properties that can be consumed in any reasonable quantity!

  23. - Ghost - Tuesday, May 27, 14 @ 3:18 pm:

    The State should legalize hemp sold by the State; kind of like the lottery buisness.

    As the sole entity allowed to grow and sell it, it could then subcontract out the exclusivity to some bidder, like we did the lottery, and rake in cash in taxes and for the intial right to handle the growth and sales for the State.

  24. - Bill White - Tuesday, May 27, 14 @ 3:29 pm:

    Illinois could become the hempcrete capital of the Midwest

    And no, this isn’t meant as snark because hemp should grow like gangbusters when added to existing crop rotations.

  25. - georgeatt - Tuesday, May 27, 14 @ 3:54 pm:

    Do you really need to study a no-brainer. Of course it should be legal, as well as its psycho-active cousin. Give the public the choice of a safer drug other than alcohol and tobacco. Give them the choice of what fabric they wear for heaven’s sake. Must we always have a Nanny?

  26. - Sunshine - Tuesday, May 27, 14 @ 4:01 pm:

    Lots of hemp alongside abandoned railroad tracks, along county roads, etc. Grab some, smoke it, if you can, and the only buzz you’ll get is from being out in the fresh air.

    Hemp could clothe millions of po folk!

  27. - VanillaMan - Tuesday, May 27, 14 @ 4:09 pm:

    Hemp boxers, please.
    Size 34.

  28. - dan linn - Tuesday, May 27, 14 @ 4:14 pm:

    Illinois Investigative & Advisory Task Force submitted in January 2000:

    The original version of HB 5085 allowed Dept. of Ag. to license farmers to grow hemp but House Ag. committee shot it down after the Dept. of Ag. was lukewarm because of the low fees for the hemp licenses and already burdensome workload with the medical cannabis program.

    Illinois NORML will be hosting our first ever Legislative Hemp Reception at Donnie’s Homespun Pizza this Thursday, May 29 from 6-9PM featuring Pizza with a hemp flour crust, hemp seed hummus, salad with a hemp oil vinagrette, Non-magical hemp brownies and a limited amount of hemp beer. So if you’re in Springfield stop by to learn more about this multimillion dollar consumer goods industry and sample the hemp food products. Illinois NORML will also be offering complimentary coffee with hemp milk at the Capitol Thursday morning in conjunction with our final lobby day. Sorry for the plug Rich but it seemed somewhat appropriate.

  29. - Precinct Captain - Tuesday, May 27, 14 @ 5:55 pm:

    Peter Tosh — Legalize It

  30. - Soccermom - Tuesday, May 27, 14 @ 6:00 pm:

    Dear General Assembly,

    Thank you so much for protecting me from hemp clothes and unlicensed cupcakes. I feel so much safer now.

  31. - Just The Way It Is One - Tuesday, May 27, 14 @ 7:56 pm:

    Sure–so long as its’ study has nothing to do with the intent of creating currently illegal drugs…!

  32. - Throwing Stones - Tuesday, May 27, 14 @ 10:18 pm:

    I voted yes. the first generation on my mothers side of my family that immigrated to the usa in iIllinois were hemp farmers. Please decriminalize my ancestors legacy of rope and paper makers.

  33. - GlobalHemp - Tuesday, May 27, 14 @ 11:10 pm:

    I co-wrote the bill with Representative David Leitch. It was changed from a licensing to a research bill due to monetary objections of the IL Dept of Ag. The following page contains a Press Release on the bill:

    I served on the Illinois Investigative & Advisory Task Force back in 1999/2000, where the report above was originally posted to the Global Hemp website. Unfortunately, Governor Ryan vetoed both bills. A picture of my IL license plate “PRO HEMP” in on the URL above.

  34. - Robo - Wednesday, May 28, 14 @ 9:06 am:

    The resistance today is crop identification. Most of the pot farm IDing is done by aerial reconnaisance. Can’t tell THC content from the air.

    DuPage Dan—Who you jivin with that cosmik debris?

  35. - Amalia - Wednesday, May 28, 14 @ 10:54 am:

    if Hemp farming is moving forward in Kentucky then there must be some way around the aerial crop identification issue.

  36. - Jeff Trigg - Wednesday, May 28, 14 @ 11:36 am:

    Aerial identification? Give me a break. If its growing in a state park in the middle of nowhere, you might have a problem, but a field of hemp being farmed in the middle of soybean and corn fields should not be hard to figure out. Using helicopters to identify cannabis is a waste of money anyway, as there are literally tons of wild hemp growing all over Illinois as a result of our Hemp For Victory growing campaign in WWII.

    These countries where hemp is already being grown have figured it out, maybe our DEA and drug police can learn something from them.

    Australia, Austria, Canada, Chile, China, Denmark, Egypt, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain, Hungary, India, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Slovenia, South Korea, Spain, Switzerland, Thailand, Turkey, and Ukraine.

  37. - Robo - Friday, May 30, 14 @ 11:10 am:

    =Aerial identification? Give me a break.=

    How about some righteous bud growing in the middle of a hemp field? Not defending it, just recognizing their mind set.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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