After clearing the General Assembly with near–unanimous support, Gov. Bruce Rauner signed into law Senate Bill 2298, which lifts restrictions on the production of industrial hemp in Illinois, effective immediately.
Filed in January by state Sen. Toi Hutchinson, D-Chicago Heights, SB 2298 creates the Industrial Hemp Act, establishing a legal framework within which Illinoisans can grow, cultivate and process industrial hemp, subject to licensure by the Illinois Department of Agriculture. It also amends both the Noxious Weed Act and Cannabis Control Act, removing hemp from both legal categories as recognized by state law.
Rauner said in a statement that the new law will help Illinois compete with its neighbors. “Roughly 38 states — including our neighbors in Wisconsin, Kentucky, Indiana, Missouri and Tennessee — have allowed or are considering allowing cultivation of this crop for commercial, research or pilot programs,” the governor said. “Our farmers should have this option as well.” [Read more at Illinois Policy]