Hemp is a distinct variety of the plant species cannabis sativa L. that contains minimal amounts of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the primary psychoactive ingredient in marijuana. Various parts of the plant can be utilized in the making of textiles, paper, paints, clothing, plastics, cosmetics, foodstuffs, insulation, animal feed and other products. The crop is commercially cultivated throughout the world.
Language in the federal Farm Bill explicitly authorizes states to engage in licensed activity involving hemp absent federal reclassification of the plant. Over two dozen states have enacted legislation permitting licensed hemp cultivation in a manner that is compliant with this statute.
A federal report, entitled “Hemp as an Agricultural Commodity,” produced by the Congressional Research Service finds that the hemp plant is “genetically different” from cultivated cannabis and acknowledged that its components may be utilized in the production of thousands of products, including paper, carpeting, home furnishing, construction and insulation materials, auto parts, animal bedding, body care products and nutritional supplements. It concludes, “[A] commercial hemp industry in the United States could provide opportunities as an economically viable alternative crop for some US growers.”
It is time to allow Illinois farmers the opportunity to explore this emerging market. I urge you to support SB 1294.