Illinois’s House of Representatives have voted 70 to 28 in favor of House Bill 5085, a proposal to legalize hemp cultivation for research purposes.
The measure has been assigned to the Senate Agriculture and Conservation Committee; if approved through this committee, and then by the full Senate, it will go to Governor Pat Quinn for consideration.
Under the proposed law, the Illinois Department of Agriculture and state colleges would be authorized to cultivate hemp – defined as having 1% or less THC – for research purposes. If approved, the measure would be legal under federal law, given that federal lawmakers recently passed a farming bill which allows for the cultivation of hemp in states that have legalizes it for research.
According to congressional research released last year, the United States imports roughly half a billion dollars in hemp from other countries (primarily Canada and China) while retaining the illegality of its cultivation amongst its own farmers. The same research estimates the hemp market to consist of over 25,000 various products.