Proposed rules for the regulation of industrial hemp production and processing in the U.S. state of Illinois have been published and the Department of Agriculture (IDOA) is inviting feedback.
Governor Bruce Rauner signed the Industrial Hemp Act into law in August, stating legalizing it “just makes good sense”. IDOA has been under the pump to pull regulations together since that time – they had just 120 days to do so from the day the Act was signed to implementation.
Jeff Cox, Bureau Chief of IDOA’s Bureau of Medicinal Plants, says he has been receiving many calls from farmers keen to grow the crop – even before the recent signing of the 2018 Farm Bill by President Donald Trump that legalized industrial hemp at a federal level.
Among the proposed rules for Illinois are:
- a minimum one-quarter acre of land for outdoor cultivation or 500 square feet for indoor growing.
- as in many states, THC content of a crop must not exceed 0.3 percent.
- crops will need to be inspected at least once a year.
- separate registrations will be required for handling and processing.
- an application fee of $100 and $1,000 fee for a three-year license.
It’s expected the application process for both will have an option for completing it online.
There’s not much more we can glean at this stage as the link to the proposed rules on the Illinois’ government web site appears to be broken or the server it points to wasn’t responding.
IDOA began accepting feedback on the proposed rules on December 28 and the public comment period will run for 45 days. From there, the rules and feedback will be considered by members of a Joint Committee on Administrative Rules and once finalised, IDOA will begin accepting applications for industrial hemp licenses and registrations.
As in many other states, industrial hemp once played an important role in Illinois’ agricultural economy. Hemp was first grown at Champaign around 1875. In the 1940’s thousands of farmers across the state grew the crop as part of the war effort.
More on the history of hemp in Illinois can be viewed here.