Since the Farm Bill was signed into law, a lot of people have gotten interested in growing hemp. In Illinois, the stakeholders have been in discussion with the Department of Agriculture to figure a way out, especially after concerns that the rules that were set in place would be too strict, making it difficult for Illinois farmers to make the most use of their resources.
The farmers in Illinois expressed their dismay and disappointment in the rules that had been proposed by the state, considering that if effected, it would be very expensive for them to compete with other hemp growers in the rest of the country. This is important, considering that the entire country is now allowed to produce hemp.
Benefits of Hemp
Hemp is a member of the cannabis family that doesn’t have THC. THC is the ingredient that’s present in marijuana, which gives it the high that most people associate marijuana with. Instead of THC, hemp has cannabidiol or CBD. CBD has, in the recent past, been approved for many health benefits, and is the reason why so many people are currently interested in using hemp more than they were a few years back.
According to John Sullivan, the Director of the Illinois Department of Agriculture, people are looking forward to a period where there’s a lot of hemp grown in the Illinois farms, especially during the summer.
What works in favor of most farmers is the fact that there’s a lot of excitement and enthusiasm around the growth of hemp, which means that a lot of people will be drawn to the crop. Even when faced with the strict rules, there’s still a lot of hope from farmers that the market will be responsive, and the farmers can grow a lot of hemp by the end of the year.
According to one of the representatives of the Illinois Hemp Growers group, the rules that have been tabled for consideration are a step back and would be a disadvantage for the farmers in the long run.
One of the issues that the farmers are concerned about is licensing. The state plans to allow licenses for three years, after which the farmers have to apply for new ones. The problem with this is that it creates a cost concern for farmers because they would have to spend on licensing every three years. In particular, small researchers and farmers would be affected because they lack the financial outlay to keep applying for licensing after every three years.
Most farmers see these recommendations as punitive, and given the high likelihood that the state can adopt regulations that would limit the CBD concentration in the plant, there’s a good chance that hemp is not going to be as profitable a crop for the farmers as they hope. This makes it difficult for farmers, especially since other states don’t have such punitive measures in place, which gives their farmers an edge over the Illinois farmers.