* 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For once, the main obstacle to legalization wasn’t some outdated belief that hemp is somehow evil.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.”