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*** UPDATED x1 - Pritzker responds *** Farm Bureau hoping for industrial hemp bill this year

Wednesday, Jan 3, 2018

* The medical marijuana lobby helped derail the hemp bill last year

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. […]

“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” [said the Illinois Farm Bureau’s director of external relations Bill Bodine].

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.”

For once, the main obstacle to legalization wasn’t some outdated belief that hemp is somehow evil. It was instead about stepping on a Statehouse interest group’s toes. That’s actually progress in a weird way, but the opposition needs to be overcome this year.

*** UPDATE *** JB Pritzker…

“Legalizing industrial hemp will help diversify and expand our agricultural economy and I am strongly in favor. I stand with Senator Toi Hutchinson, who is leading this fight in the General Assembly, and will work with her and farmers across Illinois to make legalized industrial hemp a reality in our state.”

- Posted by Rich Miller        

21 Comments
  1. - Amalia - Wednesday, Jan 3, 18 @ 10:16 am:

    stepping on toes. huh? perhaps they were worried about the proximity of hemp grown near marijuana? cause the cross pollination can ruin weed. but this is an important action to take for farmers. we are behind Kentucky and Wisconsin. get growing. the founding fathers are the example.


  2. - Ron - Wednesday, Jan 3, 18 @ 10:20 am:

    Why is Illinois so damn conservative. Literally one of the worst run states in the union for decades.


  3. - Cool Papa Bell - Wednesday, Jan 3, 18 @ 10:24 am:

    @Amalia

    Cross pollination is a red herring. Medical Marijuana in Illinois is grown inside of warehouses with filtered air and other environmental controls. Marijuana and hemp can and should be legal for cultivation and sale in Illinois. No reason for it not to be.


  4. - Sideline Watcher - Wednesday, Jan 3, 18 @ 10:24 am:

    We don’t have outside grow for medical marijuana so no reason to be worried about cross pollination. There is something else there between the medical guys who put up all this money for a too narrowly drawn medicinal program that doesn’t give them enough clients and treats people like criminals with government lists and finger prints and other stupidity. For hemp, we ought to be able to make anything in Illinois that you can legally buy in a store right now. Ridiculous.


  5. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Jan 3, 18 @ 10:34 am:

    The Cotton and Pesticide industries hate hemp. So do retailers. Hemp is strong, durable, denim ware last four times as long and is much cooler in summer than cotton. Hemp denim will be bad for bidnessmen. Good for consumers and the environment. Good rotation alternative. Do not hold you breath for the GA to do the right thing.


  6. - JohnTwig - Wednesday, Jan 3, 18 @ 10:36 am:

    My, how times change.

    I am old enough to vividly remember during the closing months of World War II, when “Manila” hemp fiber used in making rope was cut off, (mid 1940’s) the Federal government subsidized Midwest farmers to grow hemp. The Feds also built plants to process the hemp stalks.

    One plant was constructed along US Highway 34 just east of Galva, Illinois. The war ended before the plant got into production and the project was abandoned. For several years the abandoned structure and several large “hay stacks” of hemp remained along Rt 34 as monuments to the war effort. I think the stacked hemp was eventually burned (what a bonfire!) and the land returned to corn and soybeans.

    Everything old is new again.


  7. - IllinoisBoi - Wednesday, Jan 3, 18 @ 10:41 am:

    Am I correct in thinking industrial hemp is so low in THC that it’s almost impossible to get a “high” from it? Sort of like getting drunk on O’Doul’s…


  8. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Jan 3, 18 @ 11:01 am:

    Industrial hemp is great to smoke if you want a sore throat and a headache. No, you cannot get “high” from it.


  9. - Moe Berg - Wednesday, Jan 3, 18 @ 11:03 am:

    The medical marijuana people are only in it to have a head start on growing recreational once it is legalized. Farmers out growing industrial hemp would also be learning how to care for and cultivate the plant and the med mar vested interests don’t want the competition. Rooting for the Farm Bureau on this one.


  10. - Just Observing - Wednesday, Jan 3, 18 @ 11:08 am:

    It’s absolutely insane industrial hemp is not legal.


  11. - Cool Papa Bell - Wednesday, Jan 3, 18 @ 11:29 am:

    Let’s not get too crazy about what hemp can do or will be. Hemp can be grown legally all over the world. So if hemp jeans, hemp oil and hemp whatever were really that great other counties would already have wide spread production. It’s a hip, nostalgic agriculture product that has a niche.

    Yet – it still should be legal to grow.


  12. - Amalia - Wednesday, Jan 3, 18 @ 11:44 am:

    hemp is also just plain great for the soil. would be interesting to see how growing hemp for a period of time gets the soil worked via the roots and therefore better for other crops, crop rotation. can’t get high from hemp. take note, law enforcement.


  13. - Lincoln Square Cookout - Wednesday, Jan 3, 18 @ 11:45 am:

    Is the Farm Bureau talking about industrial hemp as in rope and textiles or CBD? CBD usually falls under medical and there is still a debate at the federal level on the status of hemp outside the scope of research. One of the man concerns with hemp CBD is it is not tested. I believe that was one of the main problems with the bill last year. The proponents didn’t want testing requirements and they didn’t want a program that was set up like other states. Many of those states require the State Department if Agriculture to import the seed and the applicant wanting to grow hemp has to identify the seed/strain (so the state can import) and the end product bc most states require the growing to be tied to research, which is legal at the federal level.

    This article has some interesting info, too much to copy and past on the issue, but here is one key point:

    “A new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association disclosed that only 31 percent of 84 lab-tested hemp-derived CBD products contained the amount of CBD indicated on the label. And who knows what else was in some of these products.”
    https://thefreshtoast.com/cannabis/courtroom-showdown-looming-for-cbd-medical-products/

    If hemp grown in Illinois that is going to be consumed is not 3rd party tested, then the processors are open to potential liability. I don’t know of too many farmers that want to risk losing the family farm.

    Good luck. Best advice- go with regulations.


  14. - Cool Papa Bell - Wednesday, Jan 3, 18 @ 1:42 pm:

    How is hemp great for the soil? It isn’t a nitrogen fixing plant. So you have to add N to the soil to grow it and unlike soybeans it won’t and new N behind to grow next years crop?


  15. - Huh? - Wednesday, Jan 3, 18 @ 2:12 pm:

    Kentucky started growing industrial hemp a few years ago. They had applications to plant nearly 13,000 acres of hemp in 2017.


  16. - IllinoisBoi - Wednesday, Jan 3, 18 @ 2:35 pm:

    Hemp isn’t “great for the soil.” It’s pretty much like other crops — it needs fertilizer and careful rotation, and is susceptible to damage by insects and molds.

    “Hemp requires about the same fertility inputs as a high-yielding crop of wheat, or corn…Hemp can be successfully grown in continuous rotation for several years on the same land. However, the risk of pest buildup, particularly root worms, borers, and rots, makes this a risky proposition.”

    https://dev.purduehemp.org/hemp-production/


  17. - Lincoln Square Cookout - Wednesday, Jan 3, 18 @ 3:53 pm:

    =Kentucky started growing industrial hemp a few years ago. They had applications to plant nearly 13,000 acres of hemp in 2017.=

    Kentucky doesn’t have a medical cannabis program and the hemp strains that are mostly produced in Kentucky produces CBD products for human consumption. Their program is research based and they allow for the sale of the research product. I am certain they have regulatory requirements- such as testing and identifying the strain. From my understanding testing/regulatory oversight was an issue with the bill last year. The bill wasn’t about textile products.


  18. - Sigh - Wednesday, Jan 3, 18 @ 4:07 pm:

    This was around Thanksgiving.

    “CBD oil containing THC must be removed from Indiana stores in 60 days, Gov. Holcomb says…”
    https://www.indystar.com/story/news/politics/2017/11/28/gov-holcomb-retailers-have-60-days-remove-cbd-oil-shelves/900758001/


  19. - frisbee - Wednesday, Jan 3, 18 @ 4:17 pm:

    Polo Illinois has a small museum dedicated to their patriotic efforts of growing hemp during WWII. Here is a short documentary “Government Grown: How Polo Helped Win the War” about the museum and community:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4TCjFPfb4NE

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-2YR313QsFo


  20. - Sigh - Wednesday, Jan 3, 18 @ 8:11 pm:

    Interesting link IllinoisBoi. I wonder how Department of Agriculture fees about pesticides for hemp, since it’s very strict on the use on medical cannabis.

    “No pesticides (insecticides, herbicides or fungicides) are registered for use on hemp in the United States. For now, crop rotation is the only management option available to avoid disease build-up until more is known about hemp’s susceptibility to disease organisms. A 4-year rotation is recommended. Do not grow hemp on the same fields following canola, edible beans, soybeans or sunflowers.“


  21. - Love it - Friday, Jan 5, 18 @ 1:55 am:

    Please see the need , so many good things in many respects to this herb. If you could just get all those, not so common sense people out there or maybe their comman sense is more base on who gets the mighty dollar instead of who this Can and will help.


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