Gov. Bruce Rauner on Saturday signed a bill legalizing industrial hemp, adding Illinois to a growing list of states that allow the growth of cannabis for non-drug purposes.
“Legalizing the farming of industrial hemp just makes good sense,” Rauner said in a statement. “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. Our farmers should have this option as well."
Illinois’ Industrial Hemp Act, which goes into effect immediately, allows for its use in paper, fabric, biodegradable plastics, construction materials and health food, according to the governor’s office.
The state Department of Agriculture will issue licenses to farmers who want to grow it, and regulators will establish rules for THC-level testing of industrial hemp crops.
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