Illinois has expanded its hemp market by allowing hemp producers to sell directly to adult-use and medical cannabis processors in the state. The Illinois Department of Agriculture’s Bureau of Medicinal Plants made the announcement in late March.
Under the plan, hemp can be purchased from licensed Illinois hemp farmers or any other licensed hemp farmer from around the country. The Bureau uses the traditional definition of hemp, a cannabis plant with a THC concentration of less than 0.3%. Hemp procured under the program can only be used in “extracted form” and infused cannabis products — hemp flower cannot be sold.
“We harvested over 70% of the hemp that was planted in Illinois in 2019. That increased our supply of hemp dramatically. By supply, I mean hemp that’s just sitting in barns or in storage, or that may have been processed and is now some kind of a crude oil, distillate or isolate. While we had a lot of processors licensed, I don’t think they expected the influx of hemp that we had.” — Jeff Cox, head of the Bureau for Medicinal Plants, via HempGrower.com
Cannabis cultivation centers must apply for a hemp processor license and all products made from hemp extracts must be tested for THC, THCa, CBD, and CBDa.
The new policy will benefit hemp growers and the legal medical and adult-use markets by expanding hemp sales and simultaneously freeing up cultivation space for high-demand, THC-rich cannabis plants, Cox told Hemp Grower, as farmers won’t need to dedicate as much of their canopy to growing CBD-rich strains.
“The biggest demand is for high-THC flower,” he said.