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Is hemp the same thing as marijuana?

Yes and no.  Industrial Hemp and marijuana are both Cannabis sativa L., however, they are very different.  Marijuana contains tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the active ingredient that has a psychoactive effect on the user.  Hemp, on the other hand, has 0.3% or less THC and has no psychoactive effect.

What can be done with Hemp?

Hemp has thousands of potential uses ranging from building materials to food to cloth.  Another derivative of Hemp is Cannabinol, also known as CBD.  Some people believe that CBD can have therapeutic benefits for pain, anxiety, and inflammation.

Can I grow Hemp in Illinois?

Yes. Under the 2014 and 2018 Farm Bills, farmers, universities, and the Department of Agriculture can grow Hemp with some conditions.  There must be a research component and anyone that wants to grow hemp must apply for and be awarded a Hemp Grower’s License.  There are other pieces of information that must be completed on the application pursuant to State and Federal law.

How do I apply for a Hemp Grower’s License?

The application to be a hemp grower is available on the Department’s website.  There is a $100 application fee and a license fee if your license is granted by the Department.

Can I process Hemp in Illinois?

Yes. According to Illinois law, Hemp processors must register with the Department of Agriculture.

How do I apply for a Hemp registration?

The Processors application is available on the Department’s website.  There is a $100 application fee and a registration fee if the registration is granted by the Department.

If I grow Hemp, will it be tested?

Yes. All industrial Hemp grown by a licensee is subject to random testing to ensure it is compliant with State and Federal law.  Sampling and testing will be performed by the Department or by a third-party, accredited, and approved laboratory.

What if my hemp is non-compliant?

If Hemp tests above 0.3% THC, the opportunity for a retest is available in some situations.  If Hemp tests above 0.7% THC, it must be destroyed.