The Illinois Senate passed Senate Bill 2298 this week, which allows farmers throughout the state to apply for licenses to grow industrial hemp. The bill was introduced by Senator Tod Hutchinson and it passed unanimously with a 50-0 vote.
Currently, the United States imports over $300M in industrial hemp based products and raw materials annually. The Illinois Senate hopes that legalizing hemp will revive their farming communities by offering them a part of a emerging new industry in the United States.
Manufacturing of raw hemp into goods such as textiles, food sources, bio-composites, and medicines will also bolster the states economy. The markets for hemp based goods is expected to climb to over $2 billion dollars by 2020.
The bill would remove hemp from the Cannabis Control Act in Illinois and would give the Department of Agricultural in the state oversight of the new industry. This now adds to the more than 30 states that has passed some sort of positive legislation for the revival of a commercial industrial hemp industry.