The Industrial Hemp Act was signed in August, 2018, paving the way to a new frontier in hemp production and cultivation in Illinois. This, in light of the recent Farm Bill that was signed into law by all 50 states, puts Illinois on the right path for the industrialization of hemp. There have been delays in effecting the industrial Hemp Act, owing to the lack of regulations. However, things are looking up for Illinois residents.
Industrial hemp has been in the news over the past few months, and for a good reason. A lot of people never think about hemp beyond the likeness to marijuana. However, there’s so much more to this plant than people are aware. Hemp comes in handy for food, clothing fiber, and CBD oil among other uses. The reason why Illinois farmers can look forward to the regulations on industrial hemp is because it paves the way, making the production all-inclusive, even for small farmers.
Among the regulations that were proposed is that each farmer must get a license before they can grow industrial hemp. This is in a bid to streamline the production of hemp in Illinois. Other than that, before any farmer can think about growing industrial hemp, they must at least have a quarter of land set aside for farming. For those who plan to grow hemp indoors, they need at least 500 square feet.
Besides the space requirement, there’s also the issue of THC content in the crop. Any crop that’s being cultivated as industrial hemp must not have more than 0.3% of THC. This is important because it’s the feature that sets it apart from the common psychological effects that are associated with cannabis.
Considering that the US has been importing more than $300 million in hemp products every year, the move to legalize hemp is one that will save the country, in general, a lot of money. With projections of the hemp market value hitting the $2 billion mark by the year 2020, there’s a lot of room for farmers to get their hands on an industry that’s just about to take off from the infancy stage.
The Need for Regulations
Why is it important that Illinois sets these regulations for the growth of industrial hemp? It’s important that the state of Illinois conforms with federal requirements regarding the growth, production, and sale of industrial hemp. Given that the country is just warming up to the news of hemp being legal, there’s so much that could go wrong without the right policies and practices put in place.
Farmers in Illinois are expected to hand in their applications for licensing consideration in good time. Time is already running out for the 1st February, 2019 deadline for handing in the applications. However, it’s not all smooth sailing so far. Experts advise that there might be a delay in the normal growing season because of the time it will take to prepare and give out the licenses.