Illinois: Governor Signs Hemp Research Measure Into Law

Democrat Governor Pat Quinn has signed legislation, House Bill 5085, authorizing state universities to cultivate industrial hemp for research purposes.

The new law takes effect in January.

Illinois joins more than a dozen states — including Hawaii, Indiana, Nebraska, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Utah earlier this year — that have enacted legislation redefining hemp as an agricultural commodity and authorizing state-sponsored research and/or cultivation of the crop.

In February, federal lawmakers approved language in the omnibus federal Farm Bill authorizing states to sponsor hemp research absent federal reclassification of the plant.

23 thoughts

  1. Good news– CORN (cultivated to wasteful excess in Indiana, Illinois and Iowa) is said to be a good precursor crop for hemp; in turn hemp is a good precursor crop for TREES (and alleged to be a more efficient source of ethanol than corn anyway). Here’s to a swift transition to ecojustice!

  2. The most emailed article in the current New York Times contains a video of how Charlotte’s Web has been reduced to .03% thc to qualify as hemp so kids with epilepsy whose parents can’t afford to move to Colorado get their medicine by the thousands instead of the hundreds.
    I love to imagine what the Koch brothers think the value of their petrochemical and timber patents will soon be.
    Eat your hearts out Charles and David Koch. You can celebrate your climactic failure with Michelle Leonhart over at the DEA. Perhaps future civilizations will set your statues next to Emperor Nero or paint your facades holding 30 pieces of silver with Jesus at his last supper?

  3. Let me just say that Gov. Pat Quinn and every Republican and Democrat that pushed this through may have just saved the economy and people of Illinois. New York needs to follow this lead and have “research seed” in the ground by spring 2015. Hint “start now, look what happened with the DEA in Kentucky”.

    Hemp Prohibition will be remembered as one of mankind’s most expensive, deadly, destructive and racially dividing mistakes to ever have been concocted.

  4. Also, the National Institute on Drug Abuse is looking for an outdoor facility to do research on THC. With the sale and production of more products that have cannabis ingredients there now is more urgency for federal oversight to protect the American consumer.

  5. But the thousands of Illinois farmers with generations and generations worth of knowledge in farm management and there hundreds of thousands of acres of tillable land can not grow the Government defined, nonintoxicating “industrial hemp” cultivar (less than .3% thc dry weight). Really? Let’s get serious about this friends.

  6. @Julian

    The Koch brothers represent a darker side of capitalism — self-centered, greedy, reckless with other’s lives and property, willing to put profit before the welfare of subsequent generations. I despise them and any political party willing to be bought off with their big bucks, especially if that political party denies science.

  7. P.S. does anyone know what the vote results were for bill 5085? I just looked It up. It passed 51-0. I can not help but think a MUCH stronger bill could have been passed easily. If states really want to jump start there economies, they need to be ahead of the curve with hemp legislation. Illinois has no reason to be stepping into the water one toe at a time. Dive in!

  8. @Galileo Galilei

    It’s only a party issue on t.v. brother the vast majority of ALL Americans support reform so please don’t divide, unify.

  9. @Galileo,
    The wonderful thing is that despite all the Koch funded “think tanks” secret “underwriter” funding to PBS, paying for summer interns at the Drug Policy Alliance so they can lie and say their “pro marijuana,” their shutting down the government before the hemp research amendment passed through the Farm Bill…
    …Despite their patenting of everything with fibers and petrochemicals that will drop in price with a flourishing domestic hemp industry such as Cordura fabric, Lycra, Dixie, Brawny, Quilted Northern, Angel Soft, Stainmanster Carpets, ToughRock and Georgia Pacific lumber… even the timber and petrochemical patents that originally outlawed hemp 75 years ago they purchased from DuPont in 2004…
    …None of that can stop legalization now. It has been the most amazing and inspiring event of my life …besides my children being born… to see our legalization movement grow and prosper in defiance of such greedily established prohibition from Koch Industries. I am truly proud to stand in support of NORML as we conquer the most powerful patents on earth.
    The longer the battle, the sweeter the victory…

  10. @Julian-We know that trace amounts of fluoride, iodine, and almost every item in a multivitamin helps the human body in some way. So what would be the long term affects of removing cannabinoids from our daily consumption like we did since Harry Anslingers 1930s DEA made us do?

    Completely removing an item no matter how small from our food supply has to have reaction intentional and unintentional (Autism, Dravet, cancers, ALS, Parkinson’s, Juvinile Diabeties, food allergies, obesity, and possibly alcoholism and/or opiate addiction). There is a chance that these diseases might be reduced or eliminated by ingesting hemp or cannabis. We need to study the results of cannabis eradication now before we and our children needlessly suffer any more.

    Tell Nancy Grace to get behind this movement and push for research, she asked the question to Norm. With all this research Nancy needs to ask Michelle Leonhart if she still thinks all drugs are still bad.

  11. @Ray
    Humans and cannabis coevolved since we speciated from homo erectus in Central Asia 1.7 million years ago. We would die without the complex terpenoids, amino acids and cannabinoids that cannabis productively provides. The alternative are a variety of herbs and spices that could only qualify as second place when grouped together to provide the kind of nourishment and antioxidants cannabis provides. Personally why go either or: a peppered mango with chile powder and some Pure Kush or Himalayan Gold holds enough my myrcene to lock you on the couch for a relaxing evening.
    The utility of cannabinoids in the human endocannabinoid system is precisely why U.S. Patent 6330507 for cannabinoids as neuroprotectants owned by the Department of Health and Human Services must be made open source. Until then, our government is prohibiting and patenting the most nourishing crop, building material and medicine on earth.

    On another twist in hemp politics, the NYTimes reports that Mitch McConnel was caught sucking up the Koch brothers at a lavish Koch getaway, promising to comply with whatever the Kochs say. (Yeah, I know, you can pronounce “Koch” however you like…)
    The irony of it all is that Minority Leader McConnel is also a hemp champion, backing Commissioner Comer both with the Hemp Research Amendment and standing up to the DEA when they swiped Kentucky’s hemp seeds. (Bad DEA! no swiping!)
    But kissing up to the Kochs, Mitch? On TAPE?! (Wait, I gotta YouTube this one)… You do realize that Koch Industries has ZERO interest in legalizing domestic hemp supplies that would devalue their timber and petrochemical patents? You DO realize your voters in Kentucky are educated about this and you just lost the election?
    Goes to show you just can’t have it both ways. Unless of course you’re having some Pure Kush with a peppered Mango. Then by all means, dig away and stay healthy my friends.

  12. I live down in Kentucky. Hemp is doing exceptionally well here. We don’t have many farms with it yet. But the few that do have it, have nothing but good things to say. Judging by the amount of money made this year, Farmers are expecting to see many other farms growing this crop next year in Kentucky.

    [Paul Armentano responds: See this recent ABC News video on Kentucky’s hemp farms here:

  13. I also have to leave A comment commending Norml. You guys have been fighting A long, and for the most part uphill battle till just about 8 years ago. I am proud to see these new initiatives, to say I was there, I supported it, and we won.

  14. @Travis

    Look at the pro and con votes on cannabis issues. There’s plenty of examples in the NORML blogs. We like to think this is not a partisan issue, but that’s just wishful thinking. The GOP has cultivated an anti-weed voting block as part of their base.

    I encourage all NORML fans to vote against the GOP as long as their anti-cannabis views prevail in their party. If they get elected with a anti-cannabis stance, they have no reason to change.

    They will NOT change unless given a reason to do so. Let’s give them a reason, folks.

  15. For right now, here are some Cannabinoid-inspired industries and/or personal economies to circumvent buying Koch products:

    1. Lumber: get an old pickup and search around town for discarded lumber, all kinds especially shelf boards; trim, sand, drill, nail, screw together, use, sell shelf sets, benches, tables, ladders, dollies, carts to REPLACE anyone anywhere buying anything made from “new” (FRESHLY KILLED TREE) lumber.

    2. “Quilted Northern, Angel Soft” etc.– outgrow your fear of germs, taught you by the Propa & Ganda Co. and other mega-advertisers (hatefearteasers), and salvage and reuse for toilet paper and other intimate uses the discarded PAPER NAPKINS from the trashbaskets near McD’s, bus stops etc.

    3. Ignore stains, find, clean, reuse carpets easily found everywhere in abundance, don’t let any carpet go to the landfill, filthy ones can be used for outdoor footpaths through weedy areas. Two carpets of roughly same color and 4×8-foot size can be made into (dye 32 dark squares and lay’em together) chessboards for giant wooden outdoor chess games which provide exercise and intellectual training for ever younger kids. Using two instead of one makes it easy to roll ’em up and store in garage when it rains. To see a cartoon how to make chesspieces out of deadwood and scrap lumber go to Essential Preschool Part I, “Eco-Education Toys”.

    @Ray– let’s start targeting OBESITY by reminding everyone how to use phytocannabinoids to make intellectually more enjoyable the needed exercises everyone forgets to do because of the myth that they’re boring. (Key: alternately use synchromusic and counting the number of moves or seconds.) Also increasingly respected grunt jobs like cardboard, pallet and lumber recycling and vigorous handwork provide exercise everyone needs at least a couple dozen hours of per week (two activists and a truck). We’re talking jobs which replace buying something from Kochs, hmmm?

  16. @Galileo Galilei
    Illinois will be just another domino in a long list al those to fall. Its sad that every milestone made for reform only brings more proof that the failed war on drugs was and is controlled by very wealthy people that are protected by our corrupt politicians. Despising and hating what stands against any effort of a legal cannabis system is exactly what to do. If I spoke the truth of my mind on this page, I would be in jail before the sun went down. From Harry Anslinger to now our own government has with full knowledge supported a corrupt system who’s sole purpose is to protect the wealthy interest of their puppeteers. To me these are acts of treason. I’ll calm down when these sub humans are standing on the road with a sign that begs for food.

  17. @ End of the Rope
    Good to see others who also KNOW of our gvmt’s treason against its ppl, for over 80 yrs, to protect the profits of billionaires who wished to remain billionaires, and illegally eliminated the competition that cannabis and hemp provided, by stripping EVERYONE of their inalienable right to cultivate ANY seed, based on lies and hysteria generated from Hearst’s newspapers. PPl are just now beginning to understand the lie that is ‘Marijuana’, which depicted the user as going insane and raping white women. There is only cannabis and hemp, the MOST beneficial plants on Earth

  18. Please, @EotR, you’ve made my point– even sub humans need exercise. Teach them not to beg for food but to go in the dumpster and dig it out themselves. 40% of all food in USA wasted while more trees are killed to steal cropland for more corn, soy etc. (Sort of parallel to goons burning confiscated ganjaplants, right?)

  19. @ Travis & Galileo,

    I’ve been posting recently about attempts by the cities of Albuquerque and Santa Fe in NM to establish laws to reduce MJ penalties. These efforts have been attempted by the City Councils in those cities.

    I just found out yesterday that Santa Fe succeeded. The city councilors there voted to pass the resolution. They are not even putting it up to a vote by the public in November–though several of them had misgiving and wanted to go that route–but simply establishing that as a rule; it will kick in in 30 days. People in that city will no longer be arrested, forced to pay large fines and possibly spend time in jail. It was Democrats who pushed this through, who overcame the GOP obstruction. Santa Fe is probably the most liberal city in NM.

    The Albuquerque city council has been trying to do something similar. They overcame some obstruction by several GOP members, revised rules on the numbers of signatures needed, etc, and passed it along straight party lines, the 5 Dems voting yes, and the 4 GOPers, of course, voting no. This was a vote to put the measure on the Nov ballot. The kicker is that the mayor of Albq is Republican, and he has already stated that he will veto the city council’s decision.

    My point, Travis, is that once again here is a clear case of Republicans directly obstructing attempts to reduce MJ penalties, and Dems fighting to reduce those penalties. I’ve noted before that Dems can be just as big of assholes, and GOPers can be the good guys. But it seems those cases are usually the exceptions to the rules.

    We’ve seen time and again where it is Dems who are helping push legalization and reduced penalties through. There are examples on other posts here on the NORML site even as I type. (Months ago, we saw Nancy Pelosi come out and say she supported Colo’s and Wash’s decisions to legalize pot; I never saw a similar endorsement from ANY of the big GOP players–have you? And Pelosi, I’ll reiterate for the benefit of those who weren’t on these posts at the time, was ragged roundly by the conservatives and libertarians on these posts as a hypocrite and opportunist, instead of being thanked, as she should have been!!)

    Travis, I’m afraid your side is the one that is stubbornly trying to hold on to prohibition, just as it has stubbornly tried to hold onto other outdated ideas, such as gay rights, regulations on corporate polluters, etc.

    It is incumbent on people like you to change the minds of the prohibitionists in your party. I personally have been watching them die off with few tears in my eyes, knowing that with each death, legalization inches that much closer. I know it’s a cold-blooded way to look at it; I miss some of my elderly relatives too. But it’s just the facts as they currently stand. This situation is not equal, my friend; that’s called false equivalency.

    So, Travis, I appreciate where your heart is, brother. But you have to open your eyes on this. When I first discovered this NORML site, and began reading the posts, several years ago, I was astonished at the libertarian feeding frenzy going on–the massive unabated attacks on Obama and the Dems. The vast majority of attacks had nothing to do with pot! And I saw precious few protests such as yours now, calling for unity and bipartisanship.

    So you’ll have to excuse me if I don’t rush to the defense of GOPers or libertarians these days; I consider some of them, the libertarians, in particular, to be part of the problem, as many of them in the last few years have been the biggest opponents of legalization, IMO, as they bellyached continually, and sometimes still do, about taxation and regulation and any other thing they could think of. Those people are not friends of legalization IMO. Some of them are essentially trolls, who care about nothing but their own profit margin when it comes to pot.

  20. We need to start using Hemp as feed for cattle and hogs and try to get away from all the corn we feed them.

    Might help with all the diabetes in this country.

    Before its all said and done, we may find out that Iowa grown corn is detrimental to the entire country’s health.

  21. @evening bud

    Very eloquently posted my friend. While I am increasingly advocating a path of sustainability between the tired politics of liberal vs. conservative arguments, the majority of Americans truly are moderate and support sustainability. Nonetheless, we cannot ignore the deceptive influence that prohibitionists have played and payed to divide politicians and create extreme neophytes on both sides by pouring money into politricks with horrible Supreme Court decisions like Citizens United and the unconstitutional defense of police brutality.
    But we also can’t ignore that Democrats have been champions of real legislation in the Lion’s share of cannabis legalization while Republicans like McConnell have made loud thunder with little rain… Looking for photo ops to “defend” cannabis legalization lately while the Lion’s share of corporate money that forms McConnell’s campaign donations; I.e., Koch Industries, Monsantos, Big Pharma, tobacco, law enforcement, drug testing, and the finite energy industry dump their money into the Tea Party to maintain prohibition.
    In a two party system we are always reduced to the lesser of two evils. Developing the message among independents about sustainability trumping conservative and liberal politricks is an excellent way to build up a middle, or Green Party. But we know the stakes are too high to throw our votes away and just get high. That should be obvious from when libertarian Ron Paul got behind the Podium in Austin back in 2008 and said “Abolish the DEA!” (Cheers!) “Abolish the Department of Education!” (wTF?)
    Not that the marijuana community isn’t greatly appreciative of the massive legalization donations from libertarians like Jeff Bezos from Amazon or the Wal-Mart family, whose vested interest is no taxes, good consumer image and virtual anarchy; but it’s a classic strategy of mercenary warfare; The mercinaries; (our politicians, especially the Republican Tea Party) are ready to turn on their own voters during the final hour (voting day). The green cloak of supporting research amendments becomes nothing more than a ruse; a wolf in sheep’s clothing only revealed by the technology that replaced the statue of the muse in hall of Congress; the television camera.
    We’re watching, Congress. And we marijuana advocates have many more eyes and brains than the N.S.A.

  22. @Evening bud,
    Congratulations on Santa Fe: that’s just a big ol Can-o-victory right there.
    Thanks for the link; I hadn’t realized that the deal Kentucky struck was more than just an expedited application to grow hemp for research only; Comer negotiated a deal to allow Kentucky to grow hemp for marketing and commercial purposes! Way to go Ag. Commissioner Comer! Clearly this man paved the way for hemp farmers in Illinois and Colorado; if the DEA steals your stash, just sue the crap out of the entire Prohibition Circus like Comer did; Sue the DEA, the DOJ, the Attorney General… And why stop there? When it’s a state vs. the federal government, apparently the Supreme Court didn’t set up the defense for law enforcement like they did when individuals experience abuse of constitutional rights. Plus hemp is such a third rail in politics these days as it ties to medical expenses, deficit, job creation and veterans affairs… But what about all that sweet Koch money? Doooon’t do t McConne… McCONNEL! (ZzzzzAAAP!) awwwww… We’ll, we warned him.
    Does anyone else see other states suing the DOJ after the Kentucky budget report comes out?

  23. @ Julian,

    My comments were born out of sheer frustration. Things do seem to be slowly changing on this site, the posters comments and all, and the realization (and admitting) by some that the GOP remains one of our biggest obstacles to national legalization.

    As an addendum to my previous comments about the pot issues in NM, our sage–lol–governor, Susanna Martinez, she of the Tea Party brand, has stated publicly recently that she opposed legislation to reduce marijuana penalties in Santa Fe and Albuquerque–BECAUSE IT WILL GET YOUNG VOTERS TO THE POLLS.

    If that doesn’t tell you who’s on what side of the line on this issue, nothing will. Alas, she has Koch money pouring in to her campaign, and a media–most of the NM newspapers and local TV stations endorsing her–so she’ll very likely get reelected. So many Americans seem to be so easily swayed by propaganda.

    But it’s an ongoing fight here that will not end until we finally get full legalization.

    Best do you.

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