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Illinois’ hemp rules: No pot, at least $1,100 to grow

(This video is from August, 2018)

(Illinois News Network) -- The number one rule for Illinois' soon-to-be industrial hemp program is that farmers cannot grow marijuana.

The state's Department of Agriculture has released draft rules for the hemp program.  Lawmakers still have to approve them.

Medicinal Plant Bureau Chief Jeff Cox says the rules set out the process for farmers to get a license, get their seeds, grow their crop, and have it tested.

"It's important for Illinois farmers to understand that it is a regulated crop," Cox said. "Farmers cannot just go out and buy hemp seed and start planting tomorrow.  They do have to be licensed."

Each license will cost about $1,100, $100 to apply and $1,000 for the license itself.

"It is our plan to have an online application and payment system," Cox said. "People will be able to go online, fill out everything that they need to, scan in any documents that they need to, and pay with a credit card online.  That way we can get these things reviewed that much quicker."

Cox said the state will be testing all hemp to make sure it has less than 0.3 percent THC concentration.  THC is what gets people high from marijuana.

Any hemp that tests above 0.3 percent THC will be seized and destroyed.

Lawmakers will have to approve the rules later this spring.